The Tus(k)sle Between Politics and Animal Cruelty
11 Jun 2020
Author: Rakshita Pareek
In a gruesome incident reported from Kerala, a 15-year-old elephant died standing in water after she consumed a pineapple which was stuffed with firecrackers. The fruit exploded in her mouth and she bled to death.
This incident was reported after Mohan Krishnan, a forest officer narrated the details of the horrific death on social media. Krishnan wrote on Facebook, "She trusted everyone. When the pineapple she ate exploded, she must have been shocked not thinking about herself, but about the child, she was going to give birth to in 18 to 20 months."
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"So powerful was the cracker explosion in her mouth that her tongue and mouth were badly injured. The elephant walked around in the village, in searing pain, and hunger. She was unable to eat anything because of her injuries," he added. Krishnan also informed that even during this pain she didn't harm a single human being or crush a single home.
Not New in Kerala!
After this incident, there were reports that she was fed this pineapple but, according to wildlife experts, wild elephants can't be fed anything. This is a common practice to stuff dynamite inside pineapples. This is done by locals to save their crops and fruits from wild boars.
This incident is the first time that Kerala has reported such an incident. Apparently, 'God's Own Country' is not so friendly with animals. After this incident, it was highlighted that another female elephant was killed after she ate a firecracker filled pineapple which smashed her jaw and she died.
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When this incident came to light there was news that this incident happened in Muslim majority Malappuram district of Kerala. However, it was later clarified that the elephant died in the Mannarkkad division of Palakkad district.
But this misinformation had gone forward and Union minister Prakash Javadekar also ended blaming the Malappuram district. The BJP leader Maneka Gandhi went a step ahead and called Malappuram the "most violent district" in the country.
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She didn't stop at this she somehow managed to drag Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's name into this matter. She blamed him for not taking action against the killing of the pregnant elephant as the 'Malappuram' district fell under Wayanad Gandhi's constituency. It was later revealed that her claims were false.
Giving it Communal Angle!
You know the politicians of our country love to give a communal angle to anything they like. And, the sad part is they know that we will fall for this trap every single time. This happened in this case as well. When the name of Malappuram district came up, it was automatically assumed that Muslims did it as it was a Muslim majority area. And, Maneka's Gandhi's statement that it is the 'most violent district in the country' was an indirect attack on the people of the district.
Apart from her, Pakistani-Canadian journalist Tarek Fateh also tweeted that the elephant's death happened in the only Muslim-majority district of the state with an over 70% Muslim population.
Communalising the death of an elephant was criticized by many eminent personalities including CM Vijayan.
CM Pinarayi Vijayan tweeted,
"We are saddened by that fact some have used this tragedy to unleash a hate campaign. Lies built upon inaccurate descriptions and half-truths were employed to obliterate the truth. Some even tried to import bigotry into the narrative. Wrong priorities."
Actress Parvathy Thiruvothu tweeted, Just how you jump at an opportunity to make this an anti-Muslim, hate campaign is astonishing. Focus on the problem. ANIMALS ARE IN DANGER BECAUSE OF CRUEL EXPLOSIVE SNARES. Talk about the actual issue here!"
It is About Animal Cruelty, Nothing Else!
Once at the heart of Kerala’s traditional economy and culture, the care of elephants and other wildlife has become a victim of prospering forest buffer zones. It's high time people understand that the death of a pregnant elephant is about animal cruelty and not about religion or politics. It's about human-animal conflict and nothing else. Lawmakers need to make policies in which both humans and animals can co-exist without harming each other.