The advocate-general is learnt to have conveyed to the Thrissur Pooram committee that king elephant Thechikottukavu Ramachandran could be paraded for Thrissur Pooram, but only for a few moments heralding the festival on Monday.
It had indeed remained status quo when Kerala High Court on Friday declined to hear the plea for lifting the ban and left the matter to be decided by the ‘authorised’ team.
The court on Friday declined to hear the plea seeking permission to parade Thechikottukavu Ramachandran, blind in one eye and notorious for its killer instinct, for Thrissur Pooram. It was for the respective authority to take an appropriate decision on the issue, it said.
However, legal advice from the advocate general to the monitoring committee headed by Thrissur District Collector TV Anupama, after deliberations at the ministerial level, was that the jumbo could be paraded only for heralding the two-day pooram. Also public should be kept at a very safe distance and the Thechikottukavu Devaswom, which owns the jumbo, would be held responsible for any untoward incident.
The ban on parading Ramachandran had enraged elephant owners who refused to offer their elephants for the largest festival, taking the cream out of the festival. Incidentally, Anupama had said just a day ago that it was for the court to take a decision which would be binding.
With the court refusal to entertain the plea, it sent the ball back to the Collector for which she will have to hold parleys with the committee.
The forest department had banned parading Ramachandran, seen as a rogue elephant after trampling to death two persons recently. The elephant, considered as the tallest in Kerala, and with a large fan following similar to that of superstars in Kerala, has had a chequered history of being provoked easily and killing a number of people and also attacking other elephants during festivals.
Elephant lovers argued that the charm of the festival, among other things, was the jumbo opening the temple doors and stepping out, heralding the start of Pooram festivities. Their contention was that the whole process would keep the elephant engaged for just an hour and it would not be paraded for the pooram. Hence, there was no reason to ban it from participating in the festivities.
The authorities had refused to take a decision on the matter and left it to the High Court to take the final call. The Thechikottukavu devaswom president had moved the petition in the court, seeking lifting of the ban.