Protection squad?

By Special Correspondent

After the protection squads for Balarama and Arjuna, the erstwhile lead Dasara elephants, it’s the time for a similar squad to work as a shield to Abhimanyu, the present howdah-carrying tusker.

These squads used to safeguard the elephants and prevented the public from getting close to the Dasara jumbos, especially the tuskers carrying the 750-kg golden howdah, for selfies and photo opportunities.

The incident that took place during the inaugural event of Srirangapatna Dasara raises the importance of such squads, which could act as a security cover, surrounding them with a thick rope preventing the public from closing in.

Deputy Conservator of Forest K. Karikalan told The Hindu that the department is mulling over constituting a similar squad for Abhimanyu in the wake of the episode in Srirangapatna even though this year’s procession is a low-key affair and confined only to the palace.

“I think it’s an added protection as it is the question of safety and security. People can somehow get close to jumbos and this needs to be prevented as jumbos are unpredictable and all precautions are necessary so that they do not get distracted,” he said.

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