The letter was sent by the Nene couple to Kore on behalf of People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), an organisation that looks after the well being of animals.

Kore had in 2007 donated the elephant to Jyotiba temple in Kolhapur.

The letter comes in advance of the next High Court hearing, scheduled for January 21, for a case in which PETA is seeking Sunder's release from the temple where the elephant has been kept chained and inside dark sheds for most of the time.

"(Sunder) has scars on his legs and cowers in fear and pain because he is being beaten by his mahout," wrote the couple.

"He should live free from suffering, in the company of other elephants, and have the opportunity to roam vast distances," they said in the letter.


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