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Watch: Elephant runs amok in Sri Lanka; pilgrims flee to save lives

NEW DELHI: During a Hindu festival celebration in Sri Lanka, thirteen people were injured when an elephant in the parade became agitated, as many people tried to escape resulting in chaos.
Social media footage captured one of the elephant’s handlers attempting to control the distressed animal by pulling its tail, while devotees lining the street screamed and rushed to safety.
The images depict a procession of elephants adorned in red, blue, and gold robes from trunk to tail, parading in front of a mass crowd as cymbals resounded.
Thirteen individuals were transported to the hospital and received treatment for minor injuries in Kataragama, located 280 kilometers (175 miles) south of Colombo, the capital city, as stated by a police spokesperson.
A representative from the state-operated Kataragama hospital reported on Sunday, the day following the incident, that all the injured individuals had been released.
In Sri Lanka, elephants are revered as sacred creatures, but animal cruelty laws are seldom enforced.
Animal rights organisations have denounced the extensive use of elephants in temple ceremonies throughout Sri Lanka.
There have been instances where the animals have become uncontrollable during parades involving loud music and fireworks.
In August 2023, numerous pilgrims leapt into a lake in the central city of Kandy to escape five agitated young elephants. Several individuals sustained injuries, and one woman required hospitalisation.
In 2019, at least 17 people were injured when elephants ran amok at a temple festival in Colombo.
Government records indicate that there are approximately 200 domesticated elephants in the island nation, alongside a wild population of around 7,500.
The government has prohibited the capture of wild elephants, but in recent years, dozens of calves have been stolen, often after their mothers were killed by their captors.

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