(Viewer discretion advised: some may find this footage disturbing)
As many as 62 people were injured when an elephant ran amok during the ‘Upacharam Chollal,’ the farewell ceremony of the Thrissur Pooram 2012 , at Thekkinkadu Maidan on Wednesday.
The condition of an injured woman is stated to be critical.
The elephant, Unnippillil Kalidasan, paraded for the Paramekkavu Devaswom, went berserk around 12.15 p.m., triggering panic at the Pooram venue for more than an hour.
Thousands of people, including women and children, ran helter-skelter. Children and elderly people were injured in the melee.
Udhaya, 40, suffered serious injuries in the stomach when the elephant attacked her. She underwent an emergency surgery at a private hospital here. The other injured were undergoing treatment at various hospitals in the city.
Two youths atop the tusker fell down but had a narrow escape, according to eyewitnesses.
The elephant first ran from the South Gopura Nada of the Sree Vadakkunnathan temple to the West Gopura Nada through the Tekkinkadu Maidan and then moved to the Swaraj Round.
Mahouts’ efforts to pacify the animal went in vain. It was brought under control with a capture belt around 1.15 p.m.
Collector P.M. Francis said the Revenue Divisional Officer would investigate the incident and submit a report. The Devaswom would bear the medical expenses of the injured.
The ceremonies were temporarily stopped. The Thrissur-based Heritage Animal Task Force, in a memorandum to the Chief Secretary and the Chief Wildlife Warden, sought action against those who violated guidelines for parading elephants for the festival.
The memorandum said the elephant was paraded for the Pooram without the permission of the Forest Department and the Elephant Squad. The elephant was in ‘musth’ till last Thursday, the task force alleged.
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