Days back it happened again. A 10-year-old boy was chased by stray dogs. The little soul fell into a drain. Seriously injured, he finally succumbed to injuries at Children's Hospital, Bemina after some 13 painful days. And his parents will suffer the pain for all the life they are destined to live.
It was not the first such tragic death, it happened earlier also. Just before this incident a seven-year-old girl was mauled by a pack of dogs in Kulgam, and was shifted to SHMS hospital in a very bad condition. Last year a 10-year-old boy was mauled to death by stray dogs at Singhpora, Pattan.
What has been decided in that grand colosseum of nations, called UN, forget it. Who ratified the conventions related to animal rights, and why the law in India doesn't permit any action against these stray dogs, forget that as well? Why animal rights activists bark at any whisper they capture against their darling dogs, have the courage to forget that either; momentarily though.
Just imagine this. Your child caught among the pack of stray dogs and ...........Benumbed!
Sometime back a person narrated me an anecdote. It is so edifying in this case. I might mess up the detail, but the core remains. Some international team arrived in India to discuss the Save Tiger project. Remember, big Indian cine star advocating the project. This team of Tiger lovers was scheduled to meet a group of tribal people.
Among them was an old man. When the conversation happened, and presumably the Save Tigerists must have thrown enough light, in the best possible manner, to explain the importance of saving the terrific cats. Hearing this all, the elder one from the tribals said something poignant.
“You all have seen a tiger in a picture frame. Looks so good. I have seen the tiger tearing my grand daughter apart. Looks so dreadful. You have seen a picture, a video. I have seen the mutilated body of my grand daughter. That is the difference.”
That is the difference. Those who make these rules, are not the ones who face the dogs on the streets. Those who advocate animal rights, in their love for dogs, have probably forgotten that there is a creature called humans.
So we can not do anything. We have no access to United Nations. We haven't found a legal way to pitch our case. None takes cognisance of innocent children being mauled to death. It is such a depressing state of affairs. Our officials in the Municipality say they are helpless. Our courts cannot rescue us. The government officials at the top are not moved. The political parties here are bitten by their own worries.
And our children become the victims of dogs. We have nothing against these dogs. It is no crime of theirs if they bark, it they bite, and if they kill. The crime belongs to us all. The guilt is all ours. Law, rights, conventions, and governance – all apart, we are all guilty. The death of the boy last month, before that, and last year, and before that must shake us up.
In any conscious society, in any living governance, in any meaningful political atmosphere, and in any sensible state, it wouldn't go just like that.
Who owns these murders. Who is to be hanged for these deaths. Who is to face trial in these cases. None. Reason. Because there is none to hold anyone responsible. It is literally, a wild territory, where anyone can pounce over anyone else. Where life counts as long as it belongs to the one who matters. Life doesn't matter. Whose life it is, matters.
Not many days passed by, that Srinagar was being literally dug from all sides. It was a do or die matter to give it a smart look. One thought that they will find some ways to clear this city of all the dogs that now sleep on smart pavements with a touch of international pride.
If only we had a high resolution google map, we could see the pattern these dogs create when some are sleeping, some standing, some crouching, some huddled together.
And then give that picture to all the animal rights activist to hang in their drawing rooms. Some of them can be sent to global spaces where the conventions are framed. Municipality can have its own share.
An emotional outpouring on the tragic instance of a child's death is finally unhelpful in this matter. The question of what to do with these stray dogs asks for a serious response.
If nothing else, can the society and the concerned departments sit down, and work on the factors that lead to this increase in the population of dogs.
Can the courts take cognisance and declare throwing of wet waste outside as a crime, severely punishable. Can the municipality install cameras, or take help from the already installed dust of cameras, and nab anyone who throws wet waste on roads.
Can these dumpers, that have become meeting and breeding grounds for dogs, be taken off the roads. Can we, as people realise that by throwing wet waste outside, by feeding street dogs, we are putting the lives of our children to grave risk. Can we face that 10 year boy who was chased by dogs, fell in a drain, and could not make it?
Tailpiece: In the name of 'terror' how many laws, how many campaigns have been unleashed globally? How many wars waged? Countless and counting. But that is only for humans. Animals are nice guys. What if, our children are mauled to death?!
Author is Opinion Editor, Greater Kashmir
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK