War of words erupted between Assam and Tamil Nadu on Thursday after the latter refused to return the leased elephants to Assam including temple elephant Joymala.
The Tamil Nadu government, in a reply to a PIL filed by the Assam government, told the Madras High Court that it will not return the leased elephants.
The development came a day after the Assam government moved the Gauhati High Court following the reports of torture on elephants and sought the direction to bring back the elephants, especially temple elephant Joymala which the state had given to Tamil Nadu on lease.
This controversy started after the animal rights group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) released a video, claiming that Joymala was being subjected to cruelty at a temple in Tamil Nadu.
However, the Tamil Nadu government denied these accusations.
The Ministry of Environment and Forest endorsed Tamil Nadu’s claim that Joymala is doing well.
“Several disturbing videos of Joyamala are being circulated on social media recently, but these videos are old. The latest inspection report issued on the matter shows that the elephant is doing well now and is in healthy condition. The present team taking good care of Joymala,” the Ministry tweeted.
Meanwhile, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest of the Assam state MK Yadava said that Tamil Nadu, in a letter, admitted that Joymala was tortured but her health is now fine.
Assam claims it had leased nine elephants, including Joymala, to Tamil Nadu.