Evoor Kannan’s 10-day ordeal ends; to be unchained, shifted as 'pappan' returns

Evoor Kannan with his mahour Vinod Kumar. Photo: Special arrangement

Alappuzha: The plight of Evoor Kannan, a popular elephant that remains chained for over a week, is likely to end soon as its mahout has resurfaced, much to the relief of the natives of the sleepy village who were moved by the jumbo’s misery.

While the elephant was finally given a bath and started taking food, it would be unchained and moved to a new place only on Monday.

The mahout Vinod Kumar, a native of Manakkad near Thiruvananthapuram, returned on Friday after going on a two-day leave on February 24.

“He (elephant) is bonding well with me and following my instructions. He recognised me when I fed him. He had a nice bath too. However, he will be unchained and moved to a new place only on Sunday afternoon when the rush of devotees subsides. Also, I will get more time to bond with the jumbo,” Vinod Kumar told Onmanorama.

The 32-year-old elephant attached to the Evoor Sree Krishna Swamy Temple, known for his murderous rage and a history of killing two mahouts, was in a bad mood since Vinod went on leave on February 24. Given his violent past, nobody dared to go near him, unchain, and feed him. The Travancore Devaswom Board authorities, meanwhile filed a police complaint with the mahout failing to show up even after two days.

However, Vinod justifies his action, claiming that certain quarters stocked unnecessary controversy to bring back the old caretaker Sharath Paripally, who was appointed as the mahout of another jumbo with the Guruvayur Devaswom Board.

“I took charge on December 14 and slowly managed to build a bond with the elephant. I went on leave for two days as I’m a resident of Manakkad and to offer prayers as part of the famous Attukal Pongala festival. But I developed symptoms of Diarrhea on February 26 evening and decided to stay back,” Vinod said.

He claims that he tried to contact the Devaswom Sub Division office at Harippad without any success and passed on the information to another mahout (randam pappan).

“My phone got switched off in between. It was then I came to know about all the controversy from the TV and I reported at the office yesterday. The elephant has no health issues. They have stocked up a controversy to bring back the old caretaker,” he alleged.

TDB officials, meanwhile, said they have asked a veterinary expert to examine the elephant. “The jumbo has been given a bath though it’s yet to be moved to a new place. Now that the mahout is back, everything will fall back into place soon,” said a senior TDB official.

Vinod, meanwhile, said he would deal with the elephant carefully. “All are saying it will bond with only the first mahout. I will try to strengthen the bond and win his trust,” Vinod pointed out.

The elephant killed two mahouts in 2013 and 2018. However, local residents claimed the jumbo was relatively calm ever since Sharath Paripally became its caretaker near six years back. “But despite his requests, the TDB refused to make him a permanent staff, and this forced him to go to Guruvayoor,” said Somaskehara Pillai, a local resident and an elephant lover.

Despite the tragic episodes associated with the elephant, the TDB listed him as a parading elephant when Sharath was his caretaker and used to feature in around 130 programmes a year.

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