The victim M V Shabeer, 23, was a member of the executive committee that organises the annual festival at the Shiva temple in Puthennada, Thiruvananthapuram district.
Police say Shabeer was beaten to death by 4 men who provoked the elephant by pricking its tail with a needle and it ran amok during the festival last year. Shabeer had seen the incident and deposed against the four men.
A member of the executive committee for the temple festival said their friendship was beyond religion as they never considered Shabeer a Muslim in the temple committee, he was in fact the most active member. He was considered as one of them and he was included in the festival committee two years ago. He also did not have a problem with his mosque for being associated with the Hindu festival.
Locals say Shabeer struggled to provide for his mother and two younger brothers after their father abandoned them years ago.