Dog terror

Stray dogs mauled three children at Handwara last week. This was followed by another canine attack in south Kashmir. Two months ago a stray dog injured 20 people including women and children at Batmaloo.  Earlier an eight-year-old kid at Lasjan slipped into Jhelum when dogs attacked him. The list is endless. Canines flourish in Kashmir as authorities sleep over the matter. There seems no immediate respite for the people. The canines in Kashmir are lucky. They have the right to life and there are people around to enforce their rights. It is better being a dog in Kashmir than a human being.  Official data says that there are more than two lakh stray dogs in the city of Srinagar alone. The city, according to experts, needs 5000 dogs for scavenging. What will happen to the rest? The officials privately admit that castrating dogs, as suggested by Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi, was a cumbersome process and the best option to have an optimal level of canine population is to go for the kill.  As per official data, SMHS hospital registers around 4000 cases of dog bites every year. There has been a staggering increase in the dog bite cases since 2005 when it totalled 4311. Over the past two decades, the animal rights activists have managed to prevent poisoning of stray dogs in Kashmir. A scribe who agitated the matter repeatedly was shown a letter of Maneka Gandhi who had threatened the authorities of dire consequences in case the dogs were poisoned. A woman living around one thousand miles away has managed to cripple the state government. The people who run the administration must hang their heads in shame.  Even the recent judgement of the Mumbai high court allowing poisoning of stray dogs (in case they pose threat to human life) has failed to inspire the authorities.  The irony is that the poisonous drugs worth Rs 20 lakh has been bought from outside the state but it is not administered to the deadly canines for unknown reasons. The authorities owe an explanation to the people. In fact dogs are responsible for all the killings (apart from people killed in violence) that have taken place across Kashmir for the past few years. The Municipal magistrate even directed the authorities to kill the dogs. The authorities have not heeded the order and no contempt proceedings have been initiated against them. However, Mufti Muhammad Sayeed’s return to power has generated hopes. He has promised to revive the healing touch policy. The canines are killing the people and the new chief minister can save them by taking recourse to the policy.