An elephant, the poll symbol of the Bahujan Samaj Party, caused a mammoth problem for a BSP legislator when it ran amok at his daughter’s wedding party here on Wednesday.
The animal destroyed luxury cars and other vehicles, halting traffic at the Delhi-Haridwar highway for over 15 hours.
Vehiclular movement on the highway resumed late on Thursday evening after wildlife experts managed to bring the pachyderm under control.
Many high-profile guests, including state ministers Nasimuddin Siddiqui, Ramveer Upadhaya and Avadhpal Singh, were present at the elaborate marriage procession of Munkad Ali’s daughter at a resort in the town’s Partapur area. Luckily, the animal headed towards the road and not inside the resort, after destroying luxury cars and other vehicles. “Many people could have been killed had the elephant entered the resort,” said Lalit Verma, divisional forest officer.
Fire tenders tried in vain to cool the animal’s temper by showering it with water canons. Teams from Dehradun, Saharanpur and Delhi managed to tranquilise the elephant before it caused more damage.
“It was obviously in a state of musth (intoxication),” said Verma.
Musth or intoxication is a periodic condition in bull elephants, characterised by highly aggressive behaviour. Fatigue could also have triggered the elephant’s violent behaviour. “It is possible that these animals walked long distances in the heat to get to the venue. Sometimes they fail to cope with the heat,” said Vinod Rishi, former additional director general, Wildlife Preservation, Government of India.
Officials refused to comment on why an intoxicated elephant was used in the procession, risking the lives of many guests.
"We had not hired elephants or other animals for the event,” Ali told HT.