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)
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? pic.twitter.com/JWg7DUWizm
— Tarek Fatah (@TarekFatah) June 2, 2020
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.
Took down my tweet because got bullied by so many left handles. Since when did Twitter become a place where you're scared to express yourself? All of them called me out for hate speeches. The fucking irony. I'm zipping my tweets for the day but 'achche din aayenge'
— Patriot Patronus (@kaalicoffee) June 3, 2020
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.)
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)
Central Government has taken a very serious note of the killing of an elephant in Mallapuram, #Kerala. We will not leave any stone unturned to investigate properly and nab the culprit(s). This is not an Indian culture to feed fire crackers and kill.@moefcc @PIB_India @PIBHindi
— Prakash Javadekar (@PrakashJavdekar) June 4, 2020
BJP MP from Sultanpur UP has also tweeted the “Mallapuram is know for its intense criminal activity especially with regards to animals. ” (archive)
Mallapuram is know for its intense criminal activity specially with regards to animals. No action has ever been taken against a single poacher or wildlife killer so they keep doing it.
I can only suggest that you call/email and ask for action pic.twitter.com/ii09qmb7xW
— Maneka Sanjay Gandhi (@Manekagandhibjp) June 3, 2020
It's murder,Malappuram is famous for such incidents, it's India's most violent district.For instance, they throw poison on roads so that 300-400 birds & dogs die at one time: Maneka Gandhi,BJP MP&animal rights activist on elephant's death after being fed cracker-stuffed pineapple pic.twitter.com/OtLHsuiuAq
— ANI (@ANI) June 3, 2020
Find more tweets here
It all begun with misleading news published by multiple agencies, which claimed that the incident happened in Malappuram district.
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.”.
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.
— Pinarayi Vijayan (@vijayanpinarayi) June 4, 2020
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.
I spoke to Panchayat President who went to the river and saw the injured elephant. A few days before it was found in the river, the injured elephant was spotted in the same panchayat. The place is on the border of Malappuram and Palakkad. (is the only Malappuram connection)
— Dhanya Rajendran (@dhanyarajendran) June 4, 2020
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.
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.
— Kerala Forest Department (@ForestKerala) June 3, 2020
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