Sunder the elephant, who has been the subject of a petition for his release will have his case heard in front of the Bombay High court on Tuesday. Through an investigative video, People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), a non-governmental organisation working for the welfare of animals, had furnished evidence of abuse that the pachyderm was allegedly being subjected to.
Officials from PETA and a few supporters had met state forest minister Patangrao Kadam regarding Sunder’s case. At this meeting Kadam had pledged his support and had also assured that the abused elephant would movement to a rehabilitation centre in Karnataka.
A petition had been filed against the forest department for inaction in spite of an order for Sunder’s release, about a year ago. The high court had on December 23 ordered the forest department to move the elephant and file a compliance report tpwards the same.
On their part, they responded that the elephant was in a musth condition and had, therefore, been behaving aggressively and was refusing to be moved.
Two experts had visited Sunder the same month at the directions of the Animal Welfare Board of India, and had prepared a report that refuted the claims of the forest department. The experts had concluded that Sunder was not in a musth condition.
“The affidavit filed by the state forest department later refutes their own statement, saying the elephant was not in a musth condition. It said that they had got a veterinary specialist to examine the elephant who confirmed the same,” said Dr Manilal Valliyate, who had filed the petition on behalf of PETA.
Dr Valliyate said that they had tried to move the elephant but were unable to do so. “We have given the high court our response too and the final order will be given tomorrow [Tuesday] after unnecessary constructed delays ,” said Dr Valliyate.
The elephant had been gifted to Kolhapur’s Jyotiba temple by a member of the state legislative assembly,
Vinay Kore, about seven years ago.
One year ago, the elephant had been moved to a farm in Warananagar after the abuse came to light.