An animal rights group Wednesday asked the union environment ministry to step up efforts to rescue captive elephants housed in hideous conditions across the country and take strict action against the guilty.
The Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO) wrote a letter to Environment and Forests Minister Jayanthi Natarajan pressing for the same. It comes after an elephant was rammed to death and another critically injured by a speeding tanker in Delhi's suburb Noida in Uttar Pradesh last month.
"We demand that the ministry of environment and forests immediately intervene and take steps to rescue all captive elephants that are housed and used under the most hideous conditions, undergo terrible abuse" and are "transacted commercially", the letter to Natarajan said.
The foru asked the minister to take action against people who send the pachiderms to totally inappropriate destinations and are in possession of it without valid documents of ownership and forged papers. The letter urges the ministry to intervene to rescue and rehabilitate these elephants.
"We highly condemn the callous treatment of our national heritage and expect the ministry to take a very strict action to safeguard elephants in abusive and exploitative captive situations," said FIAPO chief executive officer, Arpan Sharma.
The letter lists a set of actions for the ministry to ensure safety of elephants. Expressing their opinion about the Noida incident, the animal rights group said the elephant should not be returned to its owner.
"The ministry should ensure that the elephant which may survive this accident is not returned to the owner under any circumstances, and the ownership certificates of the elephant owner and other owners like him are cancelled immediately," the letter said.
It also urged the ministry to cancel the ownership certificates of elephant owners in the trans-Yamuna area of the national capital and implement the Task Force Report 2010 on captive elephants in the country.