The killing of a pregnant elephant in Kerala, which ate a pineapple stuffed with firecrackers, allegedly set as a trap for wild boars, has set off a storm on social media.
The Kerala government has launched a probe into the incident while the Centre has sought a report from the state.
Heartbroken over the inhuman behaviour of the killers, celebrities, including cricket and Bollywood stars, took to their social media accounts to vent their anger and mark their protest.
India cricket captain Virat Kohli, spinner HarbhajanSingh, Bollywood actors Akshay Kumar, Anushka Sharma and Alia Bhat have joined animal-loving netizens to condemn the killing of the elephant. #KeralaElephantMurder was trending on Twitter.
"Appalled to hear about what happened in Kerala. Let's treat our animals with love and bring an end to these cowardly acts," Kohli said in a tweet from his Twitter handle.
Ace India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh posted a series of angry faced emoticons on a newsfeed of the incident.
“Maybe animals are less wild and humans less human. What happened with that #elephant is heartbreaking, inhumane and unacceptable!” Akshay Kumar tweeted. He also sought strict action against the culprits.
In an Instagram post, narrated the story of the elephant's death and tagged Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. She also shared a heartening sketch of an imaginary conversation between the mother elephant and her unborn baby. The picture was credited it to Bratuti.
“From anybody who throws stones at a stray dog to anybody hurting a living soul, choose one face. A lot of these animals trust human beings because they have been helped by them in the past. This is cruel beyond measure. When you lack empathy and kindness, you do not deserve to be called a human being. To hurt someone is not human,” she wrote.
Bollywood actor Shraddha Kapoor wondered how could such an incident happen. “How?????? How can something like this happen??? Do people not have hearts??? My heart has shattered and broken... The perpetrators need to be punished in the STRICTEST way,” tweeted.
Randeep Hooda wrote, “An act most #inhumane to willfully feed a pineapple full of fire crackers to friendly wild pregnant #Elephant is just unacceptable.”
An angry Alia Bhatt termed the incident 'just terrible'. She wrote on Instagram, “We need to be their voice and coexist! Is this meant to be some kind of sick joke??”
Retweeting Sraddha Kapoor's tweet, Rajkumar Rao also sought action against the perpetrators of the crime.
A number of people from various parts of the country joined the campaign on the Twitter and wrote emotional posts.
“They not only killed the mother and the baby. They also killed the TRUST ON HUMANS forever,” wrote Pankaj Nain IPS.
Hitesh Tilotia said humanity also died (along with the elephant).
Many tweets were accompanied by heart-breaking illustrations and paintings of the elephant and its unborn calf. Here are some of them: