Celina Jaitly files police complaint against MLA and mahout for elephant cruelty

Written By Unknown on Rabu, 28 Mei 2014 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Actor Celina Jaitly has lodged a 'zero FIR' police complaint against the Kolhapur MLA Vinay Kore and a mahout on grounds of animal cruelty, and causing a serious leg injury to the captive elephant, Sunder.

Jaitly lodged the complaint at the Colaba police station in south Mumbai, on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta), which is also legally fighting to free Sunder and release it in an elephant sanctuary.

Jaitly, who is an ambassador for the United Nations' Free & Equal campaign, has on Monday rushed to the Colaba police station and urged the station to act against Sunder's mahout and Kore. Senior inspector Rameshwar Supley acknowledged the complaint from Jaitly. A 'zero FIR' means that it can be later transferred to the police jurisdiction in Kolhapur for further action.

The actress has reportedly pledged not to rest until action is taken to bring Sunder's abusers to justice. Meanwhile, another complaint against Kore was also filed on Monday by People for Animals' (PFA) Naresh Kadyan in Delhi after he learned about Sunder's wound.

On Thursday, the Bombay high court hearing on the Sunder case will be heard. The animal rights activists have petitioned before the court that the captive elephant must be freed from the painful confinement in a tiny shed, where it is also reportedly beaten by the mahout earlier. MLA Kore is opposing this transfer of Sunder to an elephant sanctuary.

During a recent veterinary inspection by an elephant expert, 14-year-old elephant Sunder was found with what the health examination report calls a "massive wound ... as a result of constant tying with heavy chains". The expert's report also states that Sunder should be moved from Kolhapur to an elephant-care centre in Bangalore "on an emergency basis" as directed by the Bombay high court. The court had ordered the Maharashtra forest department to move Sunder to the centre before the monsoon season. But Kore - who Peta alleges is not the legal owner of Sunder - has attempted to block the order by filing an appeal with the Supreme Court. Peta has been campaigning for Sunder's release since 2012 and is represented in the Supreme Court by leading animal advocate Raj Panjwani.

"Sunder is a young kid who has not seen anything but loneliness, cruelty and pain,'' said Jaitly. "Peta is doing everything possible to rescue Sunder from his misery. It's high time for Sunder's abusers to be brought to justice, and I really hope that the Forest Department and authorities move Sunder as soon as possible before he is hurt again. We will do everything it takes to free this child!" she added.

All the paperwork for Sunder's transfer has been completed, and now the Maharashtra forest department simply needs to move Sunder. The health examination report also stated that Sunder's wound can be dressed, he is not in musth (a period of sexual urge in elephants that can make them difficult to handle) and he can and should be transported to Bangalore quickly.

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