Thiruvananthapuram, June 4 (IANS) Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday said that a joint probe by forest and police officials to track down the killers of the pregnant elephant in Palakkad is on and three persons are on their radar.
Vijayan also took strong exceptions to the manner in which some Union ministers and some other leaders in Delhi have given a different colour to the killing of the elephant.
“This incident occurred in Palakkad district and not like what these leaders have said this incident occurred at Malappurram district. This we feel is a purposeful attempt to degrade Malappurram district and Kerala. This is not acceptable at all. The environment is made up of man, animals, trees and rivers. Yes, there have been man-animal conflict and we are all working towards bringing this to the lowest. But if anyone tries to spread canards, it will not be taken lightly,” said Vijayan.
Vijayan was responding to strong remarks made by BJP leader Maneka Gandhi, when she said ” Malappurram is known for its intense criminal activity specially with regards to animals. No action has ever been taken against a single poacher or wildlife killer so they keep doing it.”
Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan tweeted, “I have already taken up the matter with State Govt expressing my anguish. Govt of Kerala is taking adequate strong actions those responsible for this abominable act will be brought to justice.”
In an earlier development, a Kerala forest department team probing the killing of the pregnant elephant is leant to have taken two persons into custody. The forest officials are tight-lipped on the progress of their investigation.
The elephant’s habitat was in the Silent Valley National Park in Palakkad district.
The local Manarakadu police station on Wednesday registered a case in the gruesome incident.
“The forest department and the police are probing the incident and we are confident of finding the villains behind this crime,” said Sub Inspector of Police T.K. Ramachandran.
According to veterinarians who treated the 15-year-old pregnant elephant, some miscreants while chasing away the elephants who occasionally stray into the agricultural land had kept fire crackers inside a pineapple.
When the elephant started eating it, the crackers burst, seriously injuring its upper and lower jaw and tongue.
The injured elephant, according to forest officials, was first spotted by locals near a water source on May 23. Two days later an elephant expert after a medical assessment said things were bad for the animal.
On May 25, the elephant was found dead in slushy water.
“Despite our best efforts to get the elephant out of water, it did not come out and died,” said a local villager.
A post-mortem conducted on the elephant two days later revealed that the elephant was two-months pregnant. Experts pointed out that this was the elephant’s first pregnancy.
On Thursday, Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar took to Twitter to show his displeasure. “The government has taken a very serious note of the killing of an elephant in Malappurram, Kerala. We will not leave any stone unturned to investigate it properly and nab the culprit(s). This is not Indian culture to feed firecrackers and kill,” he wrote.
On Wednesday, the Environment Minister sought a report on the death of the elephant and said stern action would be taken against the culprits.