Govt disallows protest against dog menace
Police Round Up Civil Society Activists From Lal Chowk
Srinagar, Apr 30: At a time when the alarming population of canines has broken all known records of attacks on humans in this summer capital, the state government, in a surprise move, Monday disallowed people from staging protest against the perilous dog menace.
Police swung into action when some people including human rights activist Ahsan Untoo were gearing up to stage protests at the City centre of Lal Chowk this morning.
Barking allowed, not sloganeering. As the stray packs prowling around were busy barking, at around 9:30 am, some of the aspiring protesters including civil society activist Imdad Saqi took seats on benches of the concrete park at Lal Chowk, waiting for their colleagues to pour in.
But in no time a police party from nearby Maisuma Police Station appeared at the spot asking them to disperse while Untoo was caught hold of and put behind the bars.
Witnesses said the police told the aspiring protesters who had assembled alongwith banners and placards against the dog menace that Section 144 was in force and that four or more than four people couldn’t assemble in the city.
Imdad Saqi replied that they were sitting on benches and their number on each bench wasn’t beyond three.
“We are yet to assemble we are waiting for our counterparts and the peaceful protest will start at around 10:00 am,” Saqi told the police team. But the police didn’t buy his plea.
Chairman Human Rights Forum Ahsan Untoo while pleading his presence said he wouldn’t participate in the protests but was “among the organizers”. “I won’t participate in protests against dog menace and I am just an organizer waiting for my group of students to come,” Untoo said.
The police however didn’t listen to him as well. While Untoo along with anti-dog banners and placards was bundled in a Gypsy, the others were forced to disperse.
“It is height of brute force that now one isn’t even allowed to stage protests against the dog menace which is turning deadly for the people and our children fall prey to canine bites almost everyday,” emotionally charged Saqi told Greater Kashmir. Poet and social activist Zarief Ahmed Zarief while showing bruises on his legs said he was roughed up by the police for trying to raise voice against the dog menace.
Senior Superintend of Police (SSP) Srinagar Syed Aashiq Hussain Bukhari told Greater Kashmir that nobody would be allowed to carry out any protest demonstration in Lal Chowk or any other part of Srinagar.
“We dispersed them. Section 144 is enforced in Srinagar district and how can they take out a protest demonstration,” SSP said and added that no body was beaten arrested. “They were asked to disperse,” SSP Bukhari said.
Even though all the eight City MLAs belong to the ruling National Conference led government, none of them has uttered a word about the dog menace. The only exception has been a single utterance earlier this year when one of them said that the accurate population of dogs in Srinagar is 91,110 and not one lakh. This is much against the general perception that over one lakh of them are on prowl.
The government has seemingly been so concerned about the dog welfare that it doesn’t allow action even against the rabid dogs. Last year the shoot-at-sight orders to kill rabid dogs were revoked overnight.
Pertinently the dog bites have been on record high. At least 51 people mostly children fell prey to the canines in the City last Monday alone while there was no let-up in bites thereafter.
The dog bites have broken all previous known records in the City with almost 80% increase in the deadly cases within a year. From 4230 cases reported in 2010, the number swelled to 7257 in 2011. And, the actual figures could be even bigger as this data pertains to cases administered at SHMS Hospital owned Anti Rabies Clinic ARC alone.
There’s another record about the dog bite cases. The medicos treating patients at the ARC said maximum cases were Category-3 Bites, considered deadliest among the canine attacks.
STERILIZATION FROM THIS WEEK
Meanwhile, the Srinagar Municipal Corporation, Veterinary Officer Dr Sajad Mughal said the SMC would start sterilization of dogs at the state-of-the-art Shuhama dog pound from this week.
“A specialized team from AWBI (Animal Welfare Board of India) is arriving this week and the sterilization will be started without any further delay,” he assured.
Even though the government looks at sterilization believed to be a million dollar business and time consuming affair as the sole solution to the problem, experts are apprehensive of its results.
They say by the time 40 dogs will be sterilized, 400 more will be born.
On the whole nobody is sure about the results of sterilization as a million dollar question posed last year by the then Chief Justice Ibraheem Kalif Ullah remains unanswered: “Will a dog stop biting after sterilization?”
Lastupdate on : Mon, 30 Apr 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 30 Apr 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 1 May 2012 00:00:00 IST
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