Sunday, 6 November 2011

Freeze BSP's jumbo symbol: OIPA

NAGPUR: The International Organization for Animal Protection (OIPA), an international confederation of associations for animal protection, has urged the chief election commission (CEC) to freeze Bahujan Samaj Party's (BSP) election symbol- elephant.

Sukanya Kadyan, director of OIPA in India and People for Animals (PFA), Haryana and others, on Thursday, met the chief election commissioner (CEC) of India SY Quraishi demanding to freeze the BSP election symbol - elephant, being a national heritage animal of the country.

"The CEC has assured us to hear the matter before the full bench of the Election Commission of India. We will also contact other political parties to save the animal," said Kadyan while talking to TOI.

 The OIPA's contention is that elephant being an election symbol is subjected to abuse and cruelty by using it as a publicity tool in poll rallies and other places. "This should stop," Kadyan insisted.

She said elephant was declared a heritage animal of India on October 21, 2010 and is also protected under Scheduled I of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972. Yet, the lovely animal is being abused in India for joy, pride, political party symbol and begging bowl for personal gains.

Founder chairman of PFA, Haryana, Naresh Kadyan, now representing OIPA in India as well, had won a PIL on the issue filed in 2006. However, Kadyan says states are sleeping on the issue and except Kerala no state has framed rules on upkeep of elephants. "When elephant is national heritage animal of India, no one can play and abuse it," Kadyan said.

He demanded a permanent ban on elephant polo in the country. The ministry of environment and forest (MoEF) should be directed to frame strong rules and regulations to control abuse, stress, pain and injury to elephants.

Kadyan also wanted all captive elephants be rescued and rehabilitated at once. All types of commercial activities using elephants should also be banned. The CEC has also been urged to ask BSP to change its party symbol.

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