Nashik: Bollywood actor Gulshan Grover has joined the league of celebrities demanding the 14-year-old elephant`s release, by writing a letter to Maharashtra Forest Minister on behalf of PETA.
Bollywood celebrities like Celina Jaitly, Jacqueline Fernandes, Beatles singer Paul McCartney and Hollywood actress Pamela Anderson have already joined the campaign, urging the officials to immediately transfer the elephant- Sunder to a sanctuary in Bangalore.
The letter was sent to the Forest Minister Patangrao Kadam, just before the hearing of a the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) case, to be heard on March 3 in the Bombay High Court, seeking Sunder`s release.
Grover also posed with a sign reading, "Gulshan Grover wants Sunder to be free".
Kolhapur MLA Vinay Kore had donated Sunder to the Jyotiba temple in 2007, where the elephant has been kept chained inside dark sheds for most of the time.
PETA has obtained a video footage showing the elephant`s mahout beating him violently with a pole near a poultry shed where he has been chained, allegedly at Kore`s behest.
In August 2012, the Maharashtra forest minister`s office ordered Sunder`s release, but it is yet to be implemented.
The Bombay High Court had ordered Sunder`s transfer to a sanctuary in December 2013, but he is yet to be released, a PETA release said today.
"Unfortunately, despite orders from your office, as well as the Bombay High Court, for Sunder`s release, he is still being held in iron shackles, and is living in mortal fear of the same mahout seen beating him mercilessly in the video," Grover has written in his letter to the minister.
"I may have played a bad man in several films, but we are dealing with a real-life `bad man` situation here that cries out for justice," Grover was quoted in the PETA release.
The Maharashtra state government informed the Bombay High Court that its efforts to relocate Sunder to a sanctuary failed because he is in a period of sexual urge, which officials said, makes him "aggressive".
However, two elephant experts from Kerala at the Centre for Elephant Studies at the College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences in Mannuthy and Konni Forest Veterinary Officer Sasindra Dev, have concluded on examining Sunder that the elephant does not have sexual urge and is "generally apathetic" not "aggressive".
The experts` report also said that the elephant is suffering both physically and mentally.