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Banned 'ankush' still in use to control elephants in Kerala

Press Trust of India  |  Thiruvananthapuram 

The Kerala Government's recent order banning use of iron 'ankush', a sharp edged weapon to control elephants, is largely violated in the state, Animal Rights campaigner Heritage Animal Task Force has said.

A large number of mahouts still use the weapon and apply it on sensitive parts of the elephants to compel them to obey their commands and carry out stressful works, the Thrissur-based outfit said.

Ankush, known as 'thotti' in local parlance, has a semi-circle portion made up of iron.

"The state forest department has issued an order in May this year banning the use of iron ankush. But, the government order is violated daily by mahouts whenever they manage their elephants," Task Force secretary V K Venkatachalam said here in a release.

Based on a recent judgement by Rajasthan High Court, according to which elephants should not be controlled by iron 'ankush', the Inspector General of Forests (Project Elephant) asked state forest departments to take steps to implement the order.

In view of this, state Chief Wildlife Warden had issued a circular in May banning the use of iron ankush in the state and directed all divisional officers to take strict action to enforce the ban.

The circular had also asked the forest officials to create proper awareness on the matter among department staff, mahouts and public and stringent legal action in case of violations, he said.

Venkatachalam also alleged that unauthorised elephant squads equipped with banned weapons like ankush and capture belts torture the elephants during festival parades.

The activist sought immediate intervention of the Centre and state governments to put an end to torture of elephants and initiate stringent action against persons who engage in wildlife crimes.

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First Published: Sat, October 03 2015. 13:42 IST