Maneka Gandhi gives communal spin to elephant killing incident

She said that the gruesome incident took place in Malappuram which has a Muslim majority population. However, the incident actually took place in another district altogether!

menaka gandhi

In yet another instance of a tragedy being given a communal colour, the minority community is being blamed for the murder of a pregnant elephant in Kerala! 

On Wednesday, news of the death of a pregnant elephant, allegedly due to eating a firecracker-laden pineapple left by the locals reportedly for wild boars that damaged crops, sparked a national outcry. The pineapple had exploded in the pachyderm’s mouth damaging its jaw. The incident took place in the Silent Valley Forest in Mannarkkad Division of Kerala’s Palakkad district in the Velliyar River where the elephant took its last breath.

However, very quickly the whole incident took a communal colour after many from the ruling party, including Prakash Javadekar, Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change and Maneka Gandhi, BJP MP said that the incident occurred in Malappuram, which is a Muslim majority district.



Maneka Gandhi, who is the Founder & Chairperson of People for Animals in a response to the incident said the crime rate in Malappuram is high and the communal conflict is highest there. Speaking about the incident she said, “The forest secretary should be removed. The minister should give his resignation. Rahul Gandhi is from that area, why has he not taken action?” It must be noted that Rahul Gandhi is an MP from Wayanad, which is location separate from where the incident took place.



She said, “Malappuram is the most disturbed district in the country with at least one incident being reported from there every day. Not only do they kill animals (elephants), they throw poison to kill dogs and birds in thousands. There is some incident of violence every day. Women have been beaten up. Hindus and Muslims fight and have cut each other’s arms off. The situation there is scary and it feels like the Kerala government is scared of them. No investigation ever takes place there. The weakest of the administration are sent there,” adding the torture inflicted on elephants and animals in the district.



She also issued a statement on the matter, with numbers of the forest officials, asking people that they call them and demand action.



After Maneka Gandhi’s statement, right-wing Twitter users took no time to accuse the minorities for the incident.



Soon, some media outlets confirmed that Maneka Gandhi had wrongly accused Malappuram being the area where the incident took place. K Sunil Kumar, Divisional Forest Officer, Manarkkad, told The Quint, “The elephant was found dead in a forest area in the Mannarkkad division of Palakkad district. Such incidents have happened in the past but we have taken all steps to prevent them.”

The Kerala Forest Department also issued an official statement by a tweet, confirming that the incident did not in fact take place in Malappuram.



After this, many Twitter users took to the microblogging site to stop the communalisation of the incident.



Maneka Gandhi is known for her remarks against the minorities. Last year, during the elections, she had made a controversial remark, allegedly threatening Muslims that if they wouldn’t vote for her, she wouldn’t help them in the future.



Her remarks at such a sensitive time, are highly irresponsible. For a ruling party leader to make comments and accusations without fact-checking, only to rake up communal sentiments and deepen the communal divide, should not go unquestioned. 

What is more appalling is that even after the clarification by the Forest Department of Kerala, neither Maneka Gandhi, nor the other ruling party leaders who spoke about the incident, have said that they were wrong by wrongly stating that the incident took place in Malappuram.


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