Pachyderm parched in tug of war over ownership

Pachyderm parched in  tug of war over ownership
This ownership battle is neither over land nor property. But a bizarre fight regarding the rights over an animal, disregarding his own right to life.

Mohan alias Kannan, the jumbo in jeopardy, had surely not asked for it. But, he certainly is in no position to protest the plight brought upon him by petty humans.

Mohan is left to fend for himself for two days now by his caretakers – who fled, not wanting to be caught in the ownership war – at a farm in Biligeri near here. The starving elephant could be in for real trouble if he is not given water and food at the earliest, but ego is of a higher priority for Rafi and Ashraf, both claiming to be his master.

Mohan was brought here a few days ago on a lease for five years to be a beast of burden, to help move about heavy timber logs. Tethered to a tree, Mohan cannot go out in search of food even as he suffers under the hot sun.

Ashraf, from Pallikal Bazaar in neighbouring Kerala, had purchased Mohan for Rs 18 lakh in Tamil Nadu in 2011. Seven months later, Ashraf leased out the jumbo for five years to Mani of Iguru village near Somwarpet, for moving about timber logs. Dispute arose when Rafi – also from Kerala – claimed ownership over Mohan. Rafi then came to Mani’s house in Iguru, along with the Kerala police, and took Mohan away to Kerala. The jumbo again fell into Ashraf’s hands, when he was taken away without Rafi’s knowledge. The elephant thus found its way to Biligeri.

Now, Ashraf and Mani have approached the Somwarpet police and the Forest department to get back the pachyderm. The department officials have told them to produce court documents regarding the elephant’s ownership.

Mohsin Basha, the range forest officer of Somwarpet, said it was not possible for them to take possession of the elephant without a copy of the court’s order. He said action could be taken against the owner if he fails in his duty to take care of the elephant by providing food and water.    

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