Two children were mauled to death by stray dogs in Handwara tehsil of Kupwara district on Monday, sparking massive protests by local residents against the failure of government in controlling the canines.
Reports said that Sobia Farooq (8) D/O Farooq Ahmad Dar and Irfan Ahmad Khan (10) S/O Ghulam Muhammad Khan were attacked and injured by a pack of stray dogs in an orchard near their houses at Lacchipora village of Rajwar, some 6 kilometers from Handwara town this afternoon. The minors succumbed to the injuries.
Locals said that a group of stray dogs which used to roam in the village entered into the orchard where at least 4 children were playing with snow. Dogs attacked the children and managed to catch hold of two minors and dragged them away in a deep gorge.
"We rushed towards the spot to free the children but it was too late," said Ghulam Rasool Wani, Sarpanch of the village. "Despite raising alarm and chasing the dogs, the canines didn't leave the children."
The incident shocked the villagers.
"The helpless children were crying but we could not save them from the clutches of the dogs before they were severely wounded," said a witness. "The children were later freed and straightaway rushed to hospital but it was too late as they had succumbed to their injuries."
When contacted, chief medical officer Kupwara, Dr. Muneer Ahmad, told Greater Kashmir that both the minors died on the spot. "I rushed to the spot with two ambulances but both the children had died of deep wounds on the spot. There were deep wounds all over their bodies."
The deaths triggered strong protests in the area. Placing the bodies of the children on the Handwara-Rajwar road, the residents protested against the authorities for their lackluster attitude in saving the lives of people from dogs. The movement of traffic was completely blocked and all the shops and other business establishments were closed in the area.
"Several kids have been killed by dogs in the valley and authorities, citing the reasons of animal rights, are not taking any steps to control the dogs. If the situation remains same we are going to kill the dogs on our own," said the protesters.
SDPO and Tehsildar Handwara rushed to the spot and pacified the protesters.