The Gauhati High Court on Thursday allowed the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India to intervene in the matter in which the Assam Forest Department is seeking directions for the return of Joymala, an elephant allegedly abused in a Tamil Nadu temple.
The Assam government had petitioned the High Court in September for bringing Joymala, also known as Jeymalyatha, back. The female elephant was taken to a temple in Tamil Nadu on a periodic lease in 2011.
“The Bench of Justice Michael Zothankuma allowed PETA India to intervene in the matter following an application filed in this regard,” a PETA spokesperson said.
Joymala has apparently been in the illegal custody of the Srivilliputhur Nachiyar Thirukovil temple in Tamil Nadu for about a decade, the animal rights organisation said.
There have been reports since 2021 on mahouts beating the elephant, most recently in the sanctum sanctorum of the Krishna Kovil temple and previously at a rejuvenation camp there, prompting the Assam government to demand her return.
The Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department refuted the allegations that Joymala was being abused. It also released videos showing the elephant was “absolutely doing good”.
But PETA India claimed the elephant was being abused again in the Tamil Nadu temple. It backed its claim with videos shot on two occasions over the last 30 days.