Thiruvananthapuram: Surprisingly, Kerala's rogue elephant 'Arikomban',
which has trampled over ten people and ransacked several rationshops to steal rice has a huge fanbase in the state's Idukki district.
Apparently, a group of auto drivers at Annakara in the hill station has formed the Arikomban Fans Association.
It was here that the elephant was first tranquilised and moved into a forest area away from human settlements after a long struggle by the forest officials, along with a big contingent of police and locals.
On Friday, at Anakkara, huge flex boards could be spotted under the name of Arikomban Fans Association.
"We watched the entire operation when Arikomban was captured. When the operation was on, a few elephant calves were watching it. We are sad that Arikomban who lived here was forcefully removed. We really felt sad and decided to come out with this new association," said a few auto rickshaw drivers.
Another passionate Arikomban fan, also an auto rickshaw driver, said the elephant was captured in the second attempt.
"We know that a huge sum of money has been spent on this operation, if the officials had used one fourth of the expenses, it could have been safely rehabilitated here itself, which was its most favorite location. What we say is not the opinion of a few, but a good majority," said the driver.
Arikomban was christened so because he had a liking for rice (in Malayalam ari means rice and komban means tusker) and his targets were mostly rice shops and homes where rice was stored.
As per the latest news, Arikomban which has been fitted with a radio collar after it was captured last month, now is in the vicinity of the area from which it was captured last month and its fans are probably waiting for its return. IANS