Bengaluru: Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Wednesday announced a memorial for the 63-year-old elephant ‘Arjuna’ which died during an operation in a forest to capture a wild tusker on December 1.
Speaking to reporters, CM Siddaramaiah stated that the memorial will be built by the government and will come up at the site in the forest and also at H.D. Kote town in Mysuru district.
“I have sought all information in connection with the death of the Arjuna elephant. We have asked to build a memorial in the forest in Sakleshpur, where it died and we have also given directions to build a memorial in H.D. Kote,” CM reiterated.
“Arjuna had carried the Golden Howdah during Dasara for eight times. He died accidently. The elephant should have lived for a longer time. It died as the elephant was used in wild elephant capture operation,” CM Siddaramaiah stated.
Mahut Vinu, who looked after Arjuna, recounted that, during the operation Arjuna got hurt in the leg and started bleeding. In Spite of this, he fought with a wild elephant. After that his leg was hit by a bullet in a misfire. Arjuna would have fought and won single-handedly. But, he could not win due to injury in the leg. The wild elephant killed it. Arjuna had saved the lives of 10 persons and gave away his life, he said.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah expressing sorrow earlier stated that Arjuna had participated in the Jamboo Savari eight times, becoming a beloved figure, and calmly carried the 750-kilogram Golden Howdah in the procession. Arjuna lost his life in a fight with a wild tusker.
CM Siddaramaiah remembered Arjuna’s significant service to Goddess Chamundeshwari and the lasting image of his majestic walk amid lakhs of people during the procession.
Former CM Basavaraja Bommai had also expressed condolences, stating that Gajaraja Arjuna who carried the Golden Howdah eight times during Dasara, lost his life in an operation to capture a wild elephant. Bommai prayed for the soul of Arjuna to rest in peace.
Arjuna died on Monday after being fatally injured by a wild elephant in Sakaleshpur of Hassan district. Arjuna was brought to Hassan for an operation to capture the disruptive wild elephant in Yeslur. During the operation, sharpshooters fired a tranquilizing dart at the wild elephant, which then attacked Arjuna from the front, resulting in his death.
Arjuna was captured in 1968 during a Khedda operation in the Kakanakote forest. He carried the Golden Howdah before retiring in 2020 after completing 60 years of service.
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