Chennai, Feb 6 (BPNS)
The Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment (HR&CE) has brought out Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for caring for elephants in temples that are under its control.
There are 31 elephants in temples and mutts under the HR&CE and the SOP directs that the elephants are kept in enclosures that are airy and have plenty of light and are located within a 3 km radius from the temple.
The grounds where the elephants are kept must not be laid with stones but with natural soil and even in locations where the elephants have to stay for long hours for festivals or rituals, the ground must be of natural soil.
Devotees visiting temples must not be allowed to touch the elephants not to give food to them and if someone wants to give money he or she can deposit the money for the same in a temple account or hundi, according to the SOP. The elephants must be taken for a walk covering 5 to 10 km daily depending on the age and weight of the elephants.
The mahouts are not allowed to misbehave with elephants and they should not be harsh towards the elephants. They should not cut their hair or pull their tails.
The SOP was brought by the HR&CE department to provide a better ambiance for the elephants after receiving several complaints regarding the ill-treatment of elephants that are under the temples controlled by the HR&CE.