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Elephants run amok in India; boy killed, 25 injured

A 2-year-old boy was killed and 25 others were injured Sunday morning when three elephants broke loose and ran through the famous Koodalmanikyam temple in Kerala, a southeastern state in India, according to media reports.

Sunday was the last day of a 10-day festival and the elephants were lined up to carry a deity to a holy bath before they ran amok, Gulfnews.com reported.

When policemen fired their guns in the air marking the beginning of the processional, Kannan, one of the elephants, became scared and freed himself from his mahouts, or elephant handlers, trumpeting and waiving his tusk. When the elephant started to run, so did two other nearby elephants, CNN-IBN reported.

The elephants frightened the crowd, sending people running for safety. During the melee, toddler Yadu Krishnana fell and was killed. The 25 others who were injured -- most of them during the stampede to get away from the elephant -- were hospitalized.


After half an hour, the mahouts were able to regain control of the elephants, Gulfnews.com reported.

Gulfnews.com reported that some have criticized the government for elephant-related injuries during the Hindu festival.

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Last week more than 50 people in nearby Thrissur were injured after an elephant on parade turned violent, according to Gulfnews.com.

Three years ago, an elephant at the Koodalmanikyam temple ran amok and killed three people. It is unclear whether that elephant was Kannan.

During the festival, elephants outfitted in ornate caparisons carry a deity in a procession to the holy bath of the deity, or arattu, according to Hindu.com.  

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