Moved by the plight of a young elephant, who has been beaten and kept in chains, former Beatle Paul McCartney has written to Maharashtra forest minister Patangrao Kadam to rescue and rehabilitate the animal.
The music icon, who first came to India in 1966, has requested the minister to use his power immediately to rescue the little elephant, named Sunder, from Jyotiba Temple in Kolhapur and move him to a forested sanctuary.
McCartney broke away from rehearsals for his performance at the London Olympics after he heard from PETA about the plight of the young elephant, animal rights organisation PETA said in a release.
"I have seen photographs of young Sunder, the elephant kept alone in a shed at Jyotiba Temple and put in chains with spikes," wrote McCartney.
"Years of his life have been ruined by keeping him and abusing him in this way and enough is enough. I most respectfully call on you to get Sunder out."
McCartney's plea follows PETA's discovery that Sunder was being abused by his mahout (handler), who has gone on the run from the police since the group became involved. Sunder sustained a severe injury to his right eye from being jabbed in it with an ankus (a sharp, hooked metal poker-like weapon) by the mahout. The elephant is also confined to chains with sharp spikes and is kept alone inside a dark shed, in which he cannot take even a single step forward or backward.
Sunder is denied all that is natural and important to him and lives in fear. There are lesions all over his body, indicating past beatings by the mahout. The elephant was donated to the temple by legislator Vinay Kore, it said.