Kerala Forest Department has taken three people in custody and search for two more people is on in connection with the pregnant elephant death. On May 27, a news report became viral that a pregnant elephant in Kerala's Palakkad district died after eating pineapple stuffed with crackers, allegedly placed by some locals. The pregnant wild elephant stood for a whole day in the Velliyar river area in Palakkad before collapsing to death on May 27.
"In the offence registered as per the sections of WL (P)A for hunting the elephant, several suspects are being interrogated. The SIT formed for the purpose is making significant headway in this regard. The Forest Department will leave no stone unturned to ensure maximum punishment to the offenders," the department said in a tweet.
The death of the elephant and the trauma she went through has caused huge outrage, with people calling for strong action against the perpetrators.
The state police launched a probe to catch the culprits and have filed a First Information Report (FIR). The incident came to light after a forest officer narrated the details of the horrific death on social media. The case was registered under the Wild Life (Protection) Act and Explosives Act and Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan also said that three suspects were under the scanner of teams probing the gory death of a pregnant wild elephant.
"An investigation is underway, focusing on three suspects. The police and forest departments will jointly investigate the incident. The district police chief and the district forest officer visited the site today. We will do everything possible to bring the culprits to justice," Vijayan wrote on Twitter.
In the preliminary post-mortem report, it was revealed that the pregnant wild elephant died as a result of drowning. This was followed by inhalation of water that led to lung failure, which has been identified as the immediate cause of death.
The report also confirmed the presence of major wounds and injuries in the elephant's oral cavity that caused localised sepsis. The oral injury restricted the animal from taking food or water for nearly two weeks, it said.
Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar stated it was not in the Indian culture to feed firecrackers and kill and that the government would not leave any stone unturned to bring the culprit to book.
BJP MP and former Union minister Maneka Gandhi also expressed her grief on Twitter over the death of the preganant elephant. However, she goofed up with the place name where the incident happened. Gandhi wrote "Malappuram" was known for "its intense criminal activity", especially "with regard to animals." In reality, the elephant died in Palakkad district.
Member of Parliament Shashi Tharoor said, "The death of the pregnant elephant moved me terribly, but the disinformation being circulated around it by motivated people needs to be spiked immediately. The incident did not happen in Muslim-majority Malappuram district but in Palakkad. Rahul Gandhi is not MP from there."
Voicing concern over the incident, Bollywood celebrities including Anushka Sharma, Shraddha Kapoor and Randeep Hooda also demanded strict action against the culprit.
(With PTI inputs)