The legislators yesterday discussed canine terror on the floor of the house. An independent MLA even moved a bill-seeking killing of stray dogs. The canines are on rampage in the state especially in the city of Srinagar.
Last month stray dogs mauled three children at Handwara. This was followed by another attack in south Kashmir. Two months ago a stray dog injured twenty people including women and children at Batmaloo. Earlier an 8 year-old kid at Lasjan slipped into Jehlum when dogs chased him. The list is endless. The canines flourish as authorities sleep over the matter. There seems to be no immediate respite for the people. Official data says that there are around one 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 the dogs, as suggested by member of parliament 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 these totalled 4311. Over the past two decades, the animal rights activists have managed to prevent poisoning of stray dogs. 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 canines in Kashmir are lucky. They have the right to life and there are people around to enforce this right. It is better being a dog in Kashmir than a human being! The irony is that the poisonous drugs worth Rs 20 lakh have 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. 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. In fact, dogs are responsible for most of the killings that have taken place across Kashmir for the past few years. However, Mufti Muhammad Sayeed’s return to power has generated hopes. But will he rise to the occasion?