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FACT CHECK: Elephant chained to pole in Thailand is Assam's Joymala?

Joymala has been kept in the illegal custody of the Srivilliputhur Nachiyar Thirukovil temple and she is now at the nearby Krishnan Kovil temple

Gluay Hom

Image Credit: Nat Geo

Sentinel Digital Desk

GUWAHATI: Amid the hullabaloo over the alleged mistreatment of Assam originating elephant Joymala at the hands of her masters in Tamil Nadu, nefarious elements have once surfaced to mislead and misinform the public.

Amid an ongoing row, a photo of an elephant chained to a pole is going viral on social. The elephant looks malnourished, sullen, and dejected. There are visible wounds on its body. The photo is claimed to be that of Joymala, Assam's elephant leased out to a temple in Tamil Nadu in 2008, initially for a period of 6 months.

However, it has come to light that the Masters of 'WhatsApp University' have been up to their usual tricks.

The poor animal in this picture is not Joymala. Rather, it is Gluay Hom, an elephant trained to perform tricks for tourists, who was snapped by a foreign tourist in 2018 while being chained to a pole in a stadium at Samut Prakan Crocodile Farm and Zoo near Bangkok, Thailand.

"His swollen right foreleg hangs limp. At his temple is a bloody wound from lying on the floor," Natasha Daly, who highlighted the elephant's woes for 'National Geographic', said.

A year later, Daly reported that he was doing "somewhat better" according to experts who had visited him.

What happened to Hom is indeed a tragedy, but he is in no way related to Joymala. Therefore, using his pictures and passing them off as Joymala's is indeed alarming and condemnable.

It is not that say that Joymala is any better off. A video shared by PETA India shows that the elephant is being tortured at her new home in Tamil Nadu. In the clip, she is shown to be lashed by her handlers who show no mercy while she cries and whimpers.

Yesterday, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma held a meeting with top forest department officials on Thursday and decided to send a 4-member team to the Southern State so that they can pave the way for Joymala's return.

The team, which will visit Tamil Nadu later today, comprises Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Hirdesh Mishra, Padmashree Dr Kushal Kumar Sarma of the College of Veterinary Science, Assam Agriculture University; Morigaon Superintendent of Police Aparna Natarajan and District Veterinary and Animal Husbandry Officer of Tinsukia Dr Rupjyoti Kakoti.

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