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North East

HC directs Tamil Nadu govt to permit Assam delegation to inspect elephants

Guwahati, September 16: The Gauhati High Court on Friday directed the Tamil Nadu government to give permission and security to a delegation from Assam while inspecting the elephants taken from here to temples of the southern state.
Justice Suman Shyam, hearing a petition filed by the Assam government, passed an interim order that permission should be granted to the delegation to inspect the elephants within three days after the court order is made available to them.
The judge also directed the Tamil Nadu chief secretary and director general of police to provide necessary security to the Assam delegation while they go for the inspection.
The People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) recently released a video alleging that an elephant named Joymala was being tortured and kept captive at the Andal temple in Srivalliputhur in Chennai.
As the video went viral, the Assam government sent a team of four members, comprising elephant experts, forest and police officers to inspect the condition of the elephant and pave the way for her return to the state.
The Tamil Nadu government, however, did not extend the necessary cooperation and refused permission to the delegation to meet the elephant, Advocate General Debojit Saika said.
“As we did not get any positive response from the Tamil Nadu government till now, it was decided to file a writ petition and its hearing was held today”, Saikia said.
The judge issued notices to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests and the Tamil Nadu Forest Secretary and Director of Police.
The next date of hearing has been fixed for September 28.
A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was also filed in Madras High Court by wildlife scientist N Sivaganesan contending that once a gift is executed in favour of a religious institution, the donor cannot demand its repossession as it will hurt the sentiments of devotees.
The Tamil Nadu Additional Advocate General J Ravindran, appearing before the bench of Acting Chief Justice M Duraiswamy and Justice Sunder Mohan on Thursday, said that the state did not intend to return the elephants.
Assam had donated nine elephants to the Tamil Nadu government for its temples. (PTI)