TRUNK CALL: A man receives a blessing from a temple elephant as part of a ritual at the Manakula Vinayagar temple in Puducherry in Kerala. According to reports, temple elephants are beaten “merciless­ly” by their handlers and forced to stand for hours on end.
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A PROTEST against the treatment of Indian temple elephants is due to take place outside the Indian High Commission on Friday af­ternoon (20).

Action for Elephants UK, a Brit­ain based activist group, are also set to deliver an open letter to In­dian prime minister Narendra Modi during his visit this week.

The action hopes to draw at­tention to the “horrific” treatment and torture of the animals and the harm it does to India’s tourism industry and reputation.

Statistics released by the group reveal 57 elephants have died in just 26 months in the southern India state of Kerala alone.

In 2018, 11 elephants have died as of the end of March.

According to reports, temple elephants are beaten “merciless­ly” by their handlers and forced to stand for hours on end. They are also denied food, water and shel­ter, activists said.

“It is unimaginable, the amount of suffering that temple elephants endure,” said Maria Mossman of Action for Elephants UK. “India has very good laws in place, but all of these are ignored daily, and the abusers go unpunished.

“Not only are elephants intelli­gent and sentient beings, they are an endangered species…

“India, we implore you to en­force your laws and bring an end to the terrible crimes against cap­tive elephants.”

The demonstration is expected to be attended by actor and ani­mal activist Dan Richardson, ac­tor and conservationist Anneka Svenska, who are due to make brief speeches regarding the plight of the animals.

“It is the duty not only of India to enforce the laws to protect them, but of the world to respond to end the brutality against them,” Mossman urged. “By not doing so, we are failing these magnifi­cent creatures.”