A mahout was killed by his elephant at Edava under Ayiroor police station limits outside Thiruvananthapuram city on Friday.

Baiju, 45, Ezhukone in Kareepra Panchayat in Kollam district is the deceased. He was the assistant mahout to Rajashekharan, a tusker in his twenties. Earlier in the day, Rajasekharan had attacked and injured the main mahout Satheeshan, who is currently hospitalised. Rajasekharan is owned by one Puthankulam Shaji of Paravoor.

According to Ayiroor police, the shocking incident happened around 4pm on Friday. Rajashekharan was part of the procession in connection with the annual festival of a temple at Chirayil near here, which took place during the intervening night of Thursday and Friday. The tusker attacked its mahouts on separate occasions on Friday when it was chained in a compound near the temple. After the second attack, members of Elephant Squad under Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals from Kollam reached the spot and tranquilised the elephant.

"We suspect that the attacks were a manifestation of its anger of being subjected to starvation", said Dr B Aravind, Government Veterinarian and tranquilising expert of SPCA. He said that as per the information collected from local people, the two mahouts consumed liquor and fell asleep and forgot to feed the elephant on time.

"After the first attack, Rajasekharan's owner Shaji came to the spot and started feeding it. That was when Baiju came near the elephant. As soon as he came under its reach, the tusker picked him up in his trunk, shook him violently and thrashed him on the floor'', Dr Aravind said.

Around three hours later after this incident, another elephant, that too owned by Puthankulam Shaji, which was taking part in the procession of another temple festival at Muttappalam near Ayiroor, ran amok, spreading scare. The elephant squad rushed to the spot and managed to chain the 40 year old elephant, which is named after prime minister Modi, with the help of its mahouts.

"It is suspected that the tusker got scared when a motorcycle passed by at a high speed", the veterinarian said adding that Modi ran around four kilometres before it could be brought under control again.