Fake News

A pregnant elephant’s death in Kerala got communalized

Kerala: A 15-year-old pregnant Elephant died in Palakkad district of Kerala on 27th May,  where multiple news agencies reported the incident as an elephant was fed cracker stuffed pineapple. This news has shaken us all and the social media was flooded with posts condemning the act and demanding the Kerala Police to book the culprit(s).

In the meantime, a few sections of social media started blaming Muslims for the death of the elephant, Tarek Fatah a Pakistani born Canadian, tweeted “The atrocity of feeding a pregnant elephant with pineapple full of firecrackers & killing her, took place in the Mallapuram district of India’s Kerala State. The district is the only Muslim-majority district of the state with an over 70% Muslim population. What are the chances?“. (Archive)

A twitter user @kaalicoffee wrote, “Getting to know that the pregnant elephant was killed in Kerala was in an area dominated by Muslims. The act was doe because Hindus consider elephant sacred…”.  She took down the tweet after it went viral.

Here is another tweet from the user after taking down the tweet.

Another user Madhur(@ThePlacardGuy) tweeted a video where he says “हाथी को भगवन मानते हो और फिर उन्ही भगवन को मार दिया, मल्लापुरम में ये घटना हुआ है, मैं चाहता हु की आप लोग Google पर जा कर मल्लापुरम का demographic चेक करो और खुद हे पता लगा लो की किसने मारा, अग्रर मैं बोल दूंगा की किसने मारा तोह आप लोग मुझे Islamophobic बोलने लगोगे ” (We believe that elephants are sacred and to be worshiped but on the other hand they were being killed. Please go to Google and search for demographics of Mallapuram, you will come to know who killed Elephant, if i tell you who killed it, you will start calling me Islamophobic.)

Archive link

https://twitter.com/ThePlacardGuy/status/1268227730765643778

https://twitter.com/iamviryavaan/status/1267880289772208129?s=20

Union minister Prakash Javadekar, Minister of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, tweeted that his government has taken a very serious note about the incident that happened in Mallapuram district of Kerala.  (Archive)

BJP MP from Sultanpur UP has also tweeted the “Mallapuram is know for its intense criminal activity especially with regards to animals. ” (archive)

Find more tweets here

It all begun with misleading news published by multiple agencies, which claimed that the incident happened in Malappuram district.

FactO Check:

Where did The Incident happen? 

The incident happened in the forest area of Palakkad District of Kerala, The forest area is on the border of Palakkad and Mallapuram district. CM Pinarayi Vijayan tweeted, “In a tragic incident in Palakkad dist, a pregnant elephant has lost its life. Many of you have reached out to us. We want to assure you that your concerns will not go in vain. Justice will prevail.”.

The NewsMinute editor-in-chief Dhanya Rajendran also tweeted that the incident had not taken place in Malappuram, but in Kottopadam panchayat in Mannarkad in Palakkad district.

How the Elephant Died?

As per the initial report and news agencies claim, the elephant died after eating cracker stuffed pineapple offered by someone.  According to Fact check published by IBT, it was learned that the reason for the elephant’s death was due to asphyxia where water had got into her lungs and trachea. Dr David Abraham, Assistant Forest Veterinary Officer, Thrissur, carried out the “preliminary postmortem” on May 28.

Even Kerala Forest Department has tweeted that, “There’s no conclusive evidence that injury to lower jaw was caused by pineapple stuffed wd cracker. However, this may be a possibility. Dept. has booked offence against unknown offenders, whose identity is being established.

As per an article published by The Quint, Mannarkkad District Forest Officer K Sunil Kumar clarified that there is no confirmation that the animal had consumed a pineapple, as dictated by media reports.

He said that the locals could not have fed a fruit stuffed with live firecrackers to a wild elephant inside the forest as that would be very dangerous.

“The animal had sustained injuries because of explosives in its mouth. This was an act done by some people living in the forest fringes to keep the animals away from his or her cultivated land. But this was not done intentionally to kill a pregnant elephant,” he told The Quint.

Many social media users have deliberately tried to give the incident a communal spin by claiming that the incident happened in Malappuram district, a Muslim majority district in Kerala. Multiple news agencies and fact-check websites have denied this claim.

ClaimReview: Pregnant Elephant killed in Mallapuram, a district known for violence again animals

Claim By: Menaka Gandhi, Prakash Javadekar

Fact Check by Facto News: MISLEADING

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Abdul M and Vamc Vadranam

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