Amid massive outrage over the death of a pregnant elephant in Kerala, the state government has made the first arrest in the case.
Kerala Forest Minister K Raju informed that one accused has been arrested in connection with the case.
The arrested man has been identified as P Wilson, an employee of an estate that cultivates cash crops and spices, media reports said. The minister has said that more arrests will be made by evening.
Earlier on Thursday, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had informed that an investigation is underway “focusing on three suspects” while adding that the government “will do everything possible to bring the culprits to justice”.
The incident is of Palakkad when a pregnant elephant had entered into a village in search of food on May 27. The villagers allegedly fed a pineapple stuffed with crackers to it. As the crackers exploded, the elephant suffered serious injuries on its tongue and mouth.
Later she walked into a river and waited for three days as its life was slowly snuffed out.
Meanwhile, it is alleged that the killing was not deliberate as the elephant had walked into a trap laid for wild boars that come to destroy the crops frequently. The same has been told to the investigators by the man arrested.
The investigation is being jointly carried out by the police and the forest department.
Terming it as “unfortunate”, he said that some people were using this tragedy to unleash a hate campaign.
“Having said that, we are saddened by the fact some have used this tragedy to unleash a hate campaign. Lies built upon inaccurate descriptions and half truths were employed to obliterate the truth. Some even tried to import bigotry into the narrative. Wrong priorities,” Vijayan tweeted.
He further asserted that “Kerala is a society that respects the outrage against injustice.”
The Kerala Forest department had launched a ‘manhunt’ for those responsible for the death of the 15-year-old pregnant wild elephant.
The Central government has also taken a serious note of the incident.
“We will not leave any stone unturned to investigate properly and nab the culprits, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said, while adding that “it is not an Indian culture to feed fire crackers and kill”.
“Environment Ministry has taken a serious note of the death of an elephant in Kerala. Has sought complete report on the incident. Stern action will be taken against the culprit(s),” he said.
The incident has attracted huge condemnation on social media, where the memes showed the mother elephant saying it was her fault to trust the human race, while the unborn child in her womb kept asking: “What is my fault, Ma?”