Guwahati: The Gauhati high court on Friday asked the Tamil Nadu government to allow the delegation from Assam to inspect allegedly abused elephant Joymala within three days. A four member delegation has been lodging in Chennai since September 3, 2022, waiting for Tamil Nadu government’s permission to inspect Joymala.
Assam government moved the high court on Wednesday after its counterpart in Tamil Nadu did not cooperate with the state delegation despite repeated requests. The team was sent there after viral videos of Joymala being tortured in the temple premise triggered massive public outrage.
Devojit Saikia, state’s advocate general, said, “The high court has also issued notices to Tamil Nadu government to reply on the matter within 15 days. The court also issued notices to Tamil Nadu police, forest department and union environment ministry.”
Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu government, in a reply to a PIL, told the Madras high court that it will not return the leased elephants.
The court was hearing an urgent PIL filed by N Sivaganesan, a field scientist on wildlife conservation.
Responding to the PIL, Tamil Nadu government’s side contended that though there were few negligible incidents of mistreatment of elephants, there was no necessity to return Joymala. Further, these elephants have now become accustomed to the temple and if they are taken away, it will hurt the religious sentiments of the devotees, it said.
Both Assam and Tamil Nadu governments have been locking their horns over the custody of Joymala after a video released by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) showed the elephant being tortured inside the temple campus in Tamil Nadu. The viral video, released in August this year, was the second video of the animal being allegedly mistreated while a previous video of the jumbo being beaten mercilessly surfaced in 2021.
Though the Tamil Nadu government has been adamant in denying the reports and wrote to Assam government claiming that Joymala was currently ‘doing well’, it continued to object the visit of a team sent by state government to inspect the elephant in Tamil Nadu.
Surprisingly, hours after Assam government on Wednesday moved the Gauhati high court to bring her back from the temple in Tamil Nadu, the union ministry of environment, forest and climate change on its official twitter handle uploaded a video of the elephant in question saying that she was being taken care of in a proper way.