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An angry Elephant Rampage in a relegious festival, Kerala India;
A WOMAN was among three people killed as an elephant ran amok at a temple.
The tame beast flipped - the second time it has turned violent - after it had been used in a ceremonial parade at at Koodalmanikya Temple in Irinjalakuda, Kerala, in southern India.
The animal, named Poabson Unnikrishnan, got wild when a spectator at the temple's perfomring arts venue touched its tusk.
The man, named by The Hindu newspaper as Naushad of Oachira, was trampled to death.
Also killed were Kausalya, 75, wife of Velayudhan of Koodampally in Kodakara and Nideesh, 30, son of Neelakantan of Karyattil in Pallissery near Annamanada.
The Hindu reports the elephant ran wildly and exited the compound of the temple through its third entrance. About 200 people who waited near the entrance ran helter-skelter.
The elephant caught up with Kausalya, who could not keep pace with the others, and trampled her to death. It then entered the temple compound again.
People lit bonfires at two of the three entrances of the temple to prevent the elephant from leaving the compound. Members of the Elephant Emergency and Critical Care Unit reached the spot at 1pm.
They tried to shoot the elephant with a tranquiliser gun, but could not as it ran wildly.
The elephant then broke open an iron gate at the temples second entrance. A group of people who stood there, including a Circle Inspector of police, a policeman and a few photographers, ran to safety.
The police said Nidheesh, an ardent lover of elephants, had ignored the Circle Inspectors warnings against remaining there. The elephant charged at Nidheesh, and gored and trampled him to death.
A mahout, Kuttan, sat atop the elephant for one-and-a-half hours and clung to life as the elephant went about killing two persons. He had a miraculous escape by jumping off the elephants back.
Mahouts brought the elephant to control around 2.15 p.m. inside the temple compound while it was drinking water from the temple pond.
Four persons were injured in the commotion.
District Collector V. K. Baby and top police officials visited the spot. The Collector ordered an investigation into the incident.
The government and the Irinjalakuda Koodalmanikya Devaswom sanctioned an assistance of Rs.2 lakh each to the kith and kin of the dead.
P.S. Mani, Divisional Forest Officer, Chalakudy, said temple authorities had violated the rule that fitness certificates of elephants should be submitted to the Forest Department 72 hours before the commencement of the festival.
The Kerala Elephant Lovers Association alleged that temple authorities had violated the High Courts directive on elephant care at festivals between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
The same elephant had turned violent on April 30 at last years Koodalmanikya temple festival.
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