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Temple elephant Gajraj suffers horrifying torture in Maharashtra, tusks sawed off

Temples have often been accused of neglecting their elephants, but few have gone through the ordeal Gajraj has been subjected to for the last half of a century.  The 63 year old elephant was exploited initially by mahouts to beg for money. But once he grew too old and weak for that, he was relegated to a corner of the temple in Satara, Maharashtra, chained and forgotten.

Temples have often been accused of neglecting their elephants, but few have gone through the ordeal Gajraj has been subjected to for the last half of a century.

The 63 year old elephant was exploited initially by mahouts to beg for money. But once he grew too old and weak for that, he was relegated to a corner of the temple in Satara, Maharashtra, chained and forgotten.

For the last 51 years, Gajraj has been tied to the exact same spot, 7 minutes away from a tourist spot. In fact, the inhumane confinement of the elephant has been portrayed as a must-see spot of ‘serenity and bliss’ by tourist websites, reports The Sun.

The cost of his ‘prison sentence’ on the elephant has been high. He has developed painful abscesses on his limbs – fruits of continuous chaining on a hard floor and absent medical care.

There are broken and disfigured toenails on all his feet and he somehow tries to cope by continuously shifting his weight from one limb to another.

The tusker is hardly cleaned, and the stench of waste comes from a distance. Yet, people with no conscience have promptly cut off his tuskers, inflicting further pain, to earn money in the black market.

What is more distressing is that the torture has thrown the jumbo off his mental equanimity – he displays classic signs such as head bobbing and swaying. He pulls against his chains and makes attempts to free himself. Long years of abuse and social isolation has caused the mental degradation, suspects veterinarians. 

Animal rights activists and social workers are campaigning to release Gajraj from the hell-hole and take him to Mathura to enjoy a quiet retirement in peace. But, temple authorities are yet to respond to their pleas.

 

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