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Of elephants and men - Gajamela

nabadip - Thu, 19 May 2005 15:06:00 +0530
Thiruvanvandoor `gajamela' today

Staff Reporter

40 elephants to participate

PATHANAMTHITTA: The 51-day annual festival at the Gosala Krishna Temple at Thiruvanvandoor, near Thiruvalla, will come to a close on Thursday with a ceremonial procession followed by a `gajamela.'

The Gosala Krishna Seva Samiti has made elaborate arrangements for the 42nd anniversary celebrations of the idol installation at the Gosala Krishna Temple on Thursday.

A ceremonial procession will be held from the Chengannur Thrichittattu Temple to the Gosala Krishna Temple as part of the culmination of the annual 51-day `mahayajnam' on Thursday.

Meanwhile, `anachamayam,' a splendid display of `nettippattom,' `alavattom,' `venchamarom,' neck chains and decorated parasols, arranged by the Gosala Krishna Seva Samiti, has been drawing large crowds at the temple for the past two days.

He said that 40 caparisoned elephants would participate in the gajamela.

nabadip - Fri, 17 Jun 2005 14:40:03 +0530
Mahouts pay up, leave

Statesman News Service

KENDRAPARA, Orissa, June 16. — The elephantine headache for the local administration is finally over. Residents of the sleepy Baraha-Damanda hamlet near Rajkanika, 75 km from Kendrapara, had taken custody of three pet elephants, including the one that crushed a 15-year-old boy to death, from far away Varanasi.

The piquant situation arose from the fact that the villagers took possession of the elephants demanding monetary compensation for the bereaved family from the elephant owners based at Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. Rs 15,000 arrived from Varanasi on Monday.

The mahouts have finally left the village with the pets bringing to an end the week-long drama. With the locals maintaining a stubborn stand and refusing to budge an inch, one of the three mahouts held hostage by the locals had left for Varanasi to meet with the compensatory sum.

A 15-year-old teenager, Anil Nayak, who recently passed the HSC annual examination, was crushed to death by a pet elephant that suddenly turned violent in Baraha-Damanda hamlet near Rajkanika, about 75 km from here, on 7 June after the mammal defying the mahout went berserk and lifted the boy by the trunk. Later it trampled the youth to death. The deceased was offering banana and grain to the pet elephant when the tragic incident occurred. The boy died on the spot.

Police had a tough time dealing with the case. As a case under the existing law of the land cannot be registered against an animal and given the fact that the boy provoked the elephant and the poor mahout was faultless, the police had to close the matter registering an unnatural death case, said an official of the Rajkanika police.

“We could have booked the mahout. But keeping in view the poor economic condition of the man out in the street with a begging bowl to feed himself and the pet, we let him off,” said the officer.

These mahouts from UP are learnt to have procured the elephants from circus parties to engage them in marriage procession, a popular practice in those parts.
They also make round of countryside as the villagers feed both the pet and the master because elephants are held in reverence, a police officer, quoting his interaction with the three mahouts, said.

The elephants were chained and held captive near a pond of the Rajkanika palace. The most disconcerting fact is that the elephants were turning violent with each passing hour.

The possibility of the chained pachyderms going berserk again and causing some mishap had weighed on the minds of the local officials.
nabadip - Sun, 17 Jul 2005 02:32:52 +0530
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