Tuesday January 16, 2018
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SC directs registration of Kerala temples having elephants

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed that all temples possessing elephants and using them during religious functions in Kerala would be registered with district committees set up under relevant rules for proper and effective control over them with respect to the pachyderms.

“It will be the obligation of the state to see that the registration (of temples) is carried out,” an apex court bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice R. Banumathi said.

The registration of all the temples or Devaswom with the district committees would be done within six weeks.

Kerala strongly resisted the plea for the registration of elephants contending that there was a provision for a declaration by the owners of elephants and insistence on registration was “unnecessary”.

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Kerala’s stand was supported by the Centre, which said it was only the performing animals that needed to be registered and elephants participating in religious functions did not come under that category.

The court, however, said: “It shall be the duty of the state, the district committee, the temple management and the owners of the elephants to see that no elephant is meted with any kind of cruelty.”

To ensure that those committing cruelty on elephants do not go unpunished, the court further said, “If it is found (that elephants were being treated with cruelty), apart from lodging of criminal prosecution, they shall face severe consequences which may include confiscation of the elephants to the state.”

Referring to the provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1974, the court directed the chief wildlife warden to see that all captive elephants in Kerala were counted and take action against owners not possessing requisite certification.

The district committees, which are crucial for keeping a watch on the well-being of the elephants, are constituted under the Kerala Captive Elephants (Management and Maintenance) Rules, 2012, and have representatives from the Wildlife Welfare Board and people engaged in prevention of cruelty against animals and others.

The court’s order came on an application seeking court’s intervention to curb cruelties on elephants owned by the temples in Kerala and used for religious ceremonies and functions.

(IANS)

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Government ends Haj subsidy as part of a new policy

Announcing the decision, Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said it was in line with the government's agenda to empower minorities without appeasing them.

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A total of 1.75 lakh Indian Muslims can go for Haj this year. Wikimedia Commons
A total of 1.75 lakh Indian Muslims can go for Haj this year. Wikimedia Commons
  • The government had drafted the policy after the Supreme Court asked it in 2012 to withdraw it gradually by 2022
  • The government would utilise the funds saved from withdrawing the subsidy for the education of minorities, particularly girls
  • This year, the highest number of Indian pilgrims are likely to go for the pilgrimage

The central government on Tuesday said it has decided to withdraw subsidy given to hundreds and thousands of Muslims for the annual Haj pilgrimage.

Announcing the decision, Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said it was in line with the government’s agenda to empower minorities without appeasing them.

“This is part of our policy to empower minorities with dignity and without appeasement,” Naqvi told reporters here.

He said the government would utilise the funds saved from withdrawing the subsidy for the education of minorities, particularly girls.

Also Read: Muslim women can now travel to Haj without Mahram

The government had drafted the policy to abolish the Haj subsidy in a phased manner after the Supreme Court asked it in 2012 to withdraw it gradually by 2022.

This year, the highest number of Indian pilgrims are likely to go for the pilgrimage after Saudi Arabia increased India’s quota by 5,000.

A total of 1.75 lakh Indian Muslims can go for Haj this year. IANS

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