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File picture: Techikottu Ramachandran / facebook

Two killed as elephant brought for house warming runs amok in India

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Saturday, February 9, 2019

Apart from his latest victim, the elephant has killed 11 other people and three elephants including Thiruvambadi Chandrashekharan, another celebrity elephant who used carry the Thiruvambadi Sri Krishna Idol.

KOCHI: An elephant brought to a housewarming ceremony in a northern Kerala has killed two people on Friday when the tusker went wild.

The tragedy happened at Shaiju’s home in Kottapadi, Guruvayur.

The 54-year-old one-eyed elephant trampled two of the guests to death and injured seven others.

Narayanan Patteri, 66, who had come from Kannur to attend the house warming was trampled to death on the spot and another guest Murugan,60, succumbed to his injuries in hospital.

The elephant, Thechikkottukavu Ramachandran, a famous but notorious one in Kerala, was brought to Chembalakulangara temple in Kottapadi.

Apart from his latest victim, the elephant has killed 11 other people and three elephants including Thiruvambadi Chandrashekharan, another celebrity elephant who used carry the Thiruvambadi Sri Krishna Idol.

According to the police, Shaiju a businessman had sponsored the elephant for the temple festival, which was also held on Friday.

As the house warming ceremony was on, something alarmed the elephant and it ran amok.

According to a police official in Guruvayur, there were percussion artists at the ceremony.

“It is not clear what upset the elephant? Crackers were burst by someone in the next compound, percussion artists were performing too,” the official said.

Interestingly, Thechikkottukavu Ramachandran is also the most popular elephant in Kerala with thousands of fans and multiple Facebook pages dedicated to him.

The elephant, originally raised in Bihar as Moti Prasad, was brought to Kerala back in 1982 and sold to the Peramangalam Thechikottukavu temple who are its current owners.

It lost its eye sight when the mahout hit him in the eye after the elephant refused to obey his orders given in Malayalam, a language the elephant could not understand.

This turned him into a violent tusker and resulted in a long line of killings.

The Kerala High Court had banned the elephant from being publicly paraded at least six times, the last ban issued in 2016.

Despite this, it continues to be paraded and covers anywhere between 70-80 temple festivals during the season. – With input from agencies

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