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Animal rights group ask Govt to organise counselling for mahouts

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Animal rights group ask Govt to organise counselling for mahouts
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Thiruvananthapuram: An animal rights group has asked the Kerala government to take immediate steps to organise counselling sessions for mahouts in view of the suicide of a young elephant trainer two days ago after police questioned him in connection with a case.

Forty-year-old Shibu, the deceased person, was the mahout of the tusker Peramangalam Thechikkottukav Ramachandran, claimed to be the second tallest captive elephant in Asia.

Police had questioned him over the recent detection of broken blade pieces in the fodder of the jumbo, owned by Thechhikkottukavu Devaswom in Thrissur district.

Heritage Animal Task Force, a Thrissur-based outfit working for the cause of elephants, sent a memorandum to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy the other day, demanding immediate intervention of the government on the issue.

"The suicide of the mahout exposes a number of serious issues and lapses attached to the maintaining of captive elephants and their mahouts in the state," Task Force Secretary V K Venkatachalam said in the memorandum, which was released to media.

"The government should take immediate steps to ensure the mental and emotional health of mahouts. Counselling and awareness classes should be organised for them to understand their problems," he said.

The memorandum also demanded transparency in awarding of licences to mahouts for training captive elephants.

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