Forest Dept. seeks police help for stopping crowds mobbing jumbos

DCF wants strict measures to be taken during Jamboo Savari on October 15

The Forest Department in Mysuru has sent a report to the Commissioner of Police, Mysuru, listing out strict measures to be taken during Jamboo Savari here on October 15 for preventing the Dasara elephants from getting distracted. This follows the incident during Srirangapatna Dasara when tusker Gopalaswamy panicked and swerved to his sides, sending the large crowds mobbing the jumbos scurrying for cover.

The incident has been taken seriously by the department which is taking all cautionary steps ahead of the Dasara finale confined to the palace. Though the jumbos won’t be stepping out of the palace and march amidst the crowds, the department still wants to ensure they don’t get distracted at any cost.

The department has recommended strict measures and sought police help in keeping unrelated people from flocking around the elephants.

Deputy Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) K. Karikalan told The Hindu that he has written to the Commissioner of Police seeking supportfor stopping crowds gathering around the elephants besides measures for preventing bursting of crackers in the palace vicinity during Jamboo Savari.

“I have prepared a report listing out 10 measures based on the 18-page guidelines released by the State government on captive elephants in 2017. Taking it as a basis, I have recommended the steps for which police support is essential for strict enforcement,” the DCF said.

The department has recommended that only the forest staff and mahouts/kavadis be permitted at the place where the golden howdah is tied on the back of the lead tusker, Abhimanyu. Usually, large crowds unconnected to the event congregate there causing disorder. “This needs to be stopped.”

“We have sought 10 ft. to 15 ft. space around the elephants for their free movement. It is a kind of zero traffic with least distraction for elephants’ movement since their behaviour is unpredictable and they can become impulsive,” he explained.

The elephants are used to the booming sound when cannons are fired since as practice firing rehearsals are done to familiarise them to the sound. But sudden bursting of crackers and loud music can disturb them. Such things should be strictly prevented, the DCF said, in his letter to the Police Commissioner.

Mr. Karikalan said at least 6 to 7 forest staff and mahouts and kavadis besides the forest officials are adequate at the place where the howdah is mounted on the tusker.

Two Dasara jumbos, Gopalaswamy and Kaveri, were sent to Srirangapatna from Mysuru for Dasara inauguration. The mahouts and staff controlled and calmed tusker Gopalaswamy at Srirangapatna within seconds of the incident. It was sheer foresight that nobody was injured although a large number of people were in close proximity to the elephants and could have been trampled. The crowds surrounding the elephants were hooting and cheering that was followed by bursting of crackers.

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