PATNA — Days after the brazen attempts by some BJP leaders and their followers to falsely give a communal colour to the tragic death of a pregnant elephant in Kerala, a Muslim man in Bihar has announced to will half his property worth Rs 5 crore to his two elephants whom he has been looking after for past several years.
“Animals are faithful, unlike humans. I’ve worked for the conservation of elephants for many years. I don’t want that after my death my elephants are orphaned,” Akhtar Imam, an animal lover in Patna, was quoted as saying by the ANI news agency.
Imam, who is chief manager of the Asian Elephant Rehabilitation and Wildlife Animal Trust (AERAWAT), owns two elephants – Moti (15 years old) and Rani (20 years old). He has been taking care of them since they were 12 years old.
He has willed half of his property to his wife and another half to the two elephants.
Imam says his elephants have saved his life on more than one occasion. “once, there was an attempt of murder made against me. At that time the elephants saved me. When some miscreants armed with pistols tried to enter my room my elephant started trumpeting. It woke me up and I was able to shout and raise and alarm due to which the miscreants ran away,” he said.
He has also announced that if the elephants die, the money would go to his NGO.
Far away from Bihar, in the last week of May, the tragic death of a pregnant elephant after consuming crackers-filled pineapple in Kerala’s Palakkad district had rightly shocked people across the country. However, some leaders of BJP, including Lok Sabha MP Maneka Gandhi and Union Minister Prakash Javadekar had wrongly linked the incident to Malappuram which has sizeable number of Muslim population.
Commenting over the incident, Maneka Gandhi had said: “It’s murder, Malappuram is famous for such incidents, it’s India’s most violent district. For instance, they throw poison on roads so that 300-400 birds & dogs die at one time.”
As desperate and brazen attempts were being made to communalize the incident, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had to come out condemning it. He also announced probe into the elephant’s death.
“In a tragic incident in Palakkad district, a pregnant elephant has lost its life. Many of you have reached out to us. We want to assure you that your concerns will not go in vain. Justice will prevail. An investigation is underway…,” he said in a series of tweets.
Slamming the hate campaign over the incident, the Kerala CM said: “We are saddened by the 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.”
3 elephants found dead in Chhattisgarh
Meanwhile, senior forest officials in Chhattisgarh suspect foul play in the death of three elephants, including one which was 20 months pregnant. The elephants have been found dead during the last three days in the northern districts of the state. While the cause of death of the third elephant, whose carcass was found on June 11, is yet to be ascertained.
On June 9, the forest officials in Surajpur district found the body of a pregnant elephant which was near full term. “Her post mortem report clarified that she had cysts on her liver which was infected,” reports Indian Express quoting a senior officer. On June 10, the carcass of another female elephant was found at a distance of 300 metres from the first one, in Pratappur range, but the forest officials couldn’t retrieve it till this morning as the herd had been guarding the body for hours.
“By 5:00 am, the herd started to thin out and we retrieved the body. Post mortem is going on, but the cause of death is not natural, as the animal was healthy. Prima facie, it looks to be a case of poisoning,” APCCF Arun Pandey said.