In a climax of suspense and arguments, the elephant Thechikkottukavu Ramachandran has got conditional permission to be paraded for the ‘Vilambaram’ ritual on the eve of the Thrissur Pooram.
As the Advocate General gave legal advice to Thrissur Collector T.V. Anupama to provide conditional permission, a monitoring panel meeting chaired by her on Friday evening allowed the parading of the elephant for the ritual on Sunday if it is medically fit.
An expert panel will examine the elephant on Saturday. If it is medically fit, the elephant can be used for the ritual.
Thechikkottukavu Ramachandran has been used for many years for the ‘Pooram Vilambaram’ ritual, in which the elephant carrying the idol of Neithilakkavilamma will open the Thekke Gopura Nada of Sree Vadakkunnathan Temple, announcing the beginning of the pooram.
The Advocate General also called for taking precautionary measures to avoid any accident. People should be kept at a distance from the elephant.
Captive Elephant Management Rules should be strictly followed while parading the elephant and it should not be provoked.
The elephant owner will be responsible for any untoward accident and the elephant should have insurance coverage.
The State government decided to take legal advice from the Advocate General after a meeting of Ministers and elephant owners.
The Elephant Owners Federation welcomed the decision of the Collector. It expressed willingness to go by the decision taken by the panel that will examine the elephant. It also expressed willingness to provide elephants for the pooram.
Earlier, it had threatened to withdraw other elephants too if the ban on the elephant was not lifted.
Condemning the decision of the Collector, the Heritage Animal Task Force said the elephant was almost blind and had digestive problems. Parading an elephant with disability was against the Captive Elephant Management Rules, it said.