Among all the terrible news that swarms our feeds on a daily basis, was the recent tragic story about an elephant that was apparently fed pineapples filled with firecrackers, leading to its death. Over and above that, the elephant was pregnant at the time, and the depravity of the act was not lost on the public.
There was a deafening hue and cry about the barbarism of humankind, wherein it can feed firecrackers to an elephant to kill it. The incident was reported from Kerala, and the demand for justice grew loud.
In fact, there were stories being posted all over social media about the inhuman act of actively feeding an unsuspecting elephant crackers in order to kill it.
BJP MP Maneka Gandhi stoked the fire by claiming that the elephant died in Malappuram district, and claiming it is a 'highly violent' area where poison is thrown on roads, leading to the death of 300-400 birds and dogs at a time.
These remarks were seen as highly inflammatory, and were quickly looked into as they are extremely serious claims. She also claimed that the Kerala government has not taken any action and that elephants die in the state every 3 days. However, many untruths were found in her claims.
Mallapuram is know for its intense criminal activity specially with regards to animals. No action has ever been taken against a single poacher or wildlife killer so they keep doing it.— Maneka Sanjay Gandhi (@Manekagandhibjp) June 3, 2020
I can only suggest that you call/email and ask for action pic.twitter.com/ii09qmb7xW
Upon investigation, it was found that the incident occurred in Palakkad and not Malappuram. Palakkad is actually under the BJP. The investigation also found no truth to the accusation of 100s of dogs being poisoned.
Maneka Gandhi's words were considered hate speech, and a lowly way to politicise a tragedy and demean Malappuram and the Kerala ruling government. People also accused her of making it a communal issue because Malappuram is a Muslim majority area. While she had claimed that no action had been taken, a probe had been ordered by the forest department on May 27, and a wildlife crime investigation team from Kozhikode is also looking into it.
In regards to the elephant, it was found that it was not actually 'fed' the pineapple, but found it lying somewhere and consumed it without knowing its contents. Pineapples with firecrackers are used by farmers to catch wild boars that destroy crops (which is also totally inhuman).
KK Sunil Kumar, Mannarkkad Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), said,
We are suspecting that the elephant fell prey to the explosive snare used to fend off wild boars. But there is no evidence now to suggest that it was intentionally fed such an explosive.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan lamented the death of the elephant, as well as the communalisation of the issue, which he said was BJP's way of 'importing bigotry'.
In a tragic incident in Palakkad dist, 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.— Pinarayi Vijayan (@vijayanpinarayi) June 4, 2020
Having said that, 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.— Pinarayi Vijayan (@vijayanpinarayi) June 4, 2020
Many people were also saddened at the fact that the tragic and brutal death of an elephant became such an unnecessary political issue.
It was about the pregnant elephant that was killed, not about Malappuram, Muslims, CAA NRC or anything.— BobinsAbraham #StayHomeStaySafe (@BobinsAbraham) June 3, 2020
How the hell did we end up communalizing the #keralaelephant killing?
The tragic and heart wrenching death of an Elephant in Kerala is now being turned into communal discourse. There is no low which is too low for Sanghis— Joy (@Joydas) June 3, 2020
The incident of killing #Elephant took place in Palakkad district of Kerala.— Aysha Renna (@AyshaRenna) June 3, 2020
Muslim majority district Malappuram has always been a target for the sangh brigade for known reasons.
This 'Animal right activist' has used the opportunity to demonise the people of the district. https://t.co/P3bMa9JTqW
Now, a rubber tapper has been arrested in connection with the death of the 15-year-old elephant. The man works at a plantation, and further information is awaited.
One accused arrested, in connection with death of the pregnant elephant in Palakkad: Kerala Forest Minister K Raju— ANI (@ANI) June 5, 2020
(file pic) pic.twitter.com/hz8AIMaHPX
And that's how this entire elephant controversy has been going on until now. While we await justice for this bloody mess, it's also important to keep in mind that even an issue such as this has become a means for politicians to further their agendas. It's incredibly sad.