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G20 Summit: When Delhi's Stray Dogs Became Collateral

Municipal Corporation of Delhi Under Fire for Cruel Displacement of Community Dogs During G20 Summit. Activists and Animal Welfare Organisations Allege Flagrant Violations of Law, Demanding Immediate Accountability.

By Ravishankar Kumar
New Update

We first brought you a
story on how, in the lead-up to the G20 Summit in Delhi, several slums were demolished, leaving many Delhi residents without homes. Now, we turn our focus to another vulnerable population impacted by the summit preparations. It's not just humans who have been displaced; dogs too have been uprooted from their natural habitats. And this has been done in the most cruel ways imaginable, flagrantly flouting all rules and regulations. Ahead of the summit, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi has come under fire for initiating a widespread illegal drive to remove community dogs from various parts of the city. 

A Betrayal of Trust

Ambika Shukla, Trustee of People for Animals, expresses her dismay at the cruelty of these actions. "It's a massive betrayal. They captured the dogs in a barbaric manner, with no written orders. This goes against all standard procedures which require written orders for actions like tree chopping or building demolitions," says Shukla.

Read More: G20 Summit | From Slums to Shadows: Delhi’s Displaced Ahead of G20 Summit

According to her, the dogs were entrapped, dragged, and thrown into dirty vehicles, only to be taken to ABC (Animal Birth Control) centres ill-equipped to handle them. "These centres neither have ample space nor adequate staffing or medical arrangements," she adds.

The operation is not just inhumane but is also outside the bounds of the law. The lack of written orders indicates a flagrant violation of established regulations for capturing and relocating animals. The ABC centres, intended for operating on and releasing healthy dogs back into the community within 3-5 days, have also come under scrutiny for being poorly equipped to deal with the influx.

A Long-Standing Issue: Violation of Supreme Court and Animal Welfare Guidelines

Activists argue that this is not an isolated incident that took place ahead of the G20 summit but part of a broader pattern of neglect and cruelty towards community dogs, particularly during large events and VIP visits.

According to guidelines set by the Supreme Court and the Animal Welfare Board of India, the relocation of dogs from their natural habitat is prohibited. The actions of the MCD stand in brazen violation of these guidelines, inviting legal repercussions and public outcry.

Read More: Delhi Gangrape: Pursuit of Justice in the Face of Perpetual Threats

Activists reveal that the drive did not cease even after its legal authorisation was withdrawn. "There's no accounting for the number of dogs picked up or their original locations," says Ayesha Christina, an animal rights activist. "80% of the dogs that were picked up during the G20 Summit preparations were already sterilised, and this happens during every VIP event. The system is not functioning properly, and I have been screaming about this for nine years."

The Animal Birth Control (ABC) program, responsible for the sterilisation of dogs, has also come under scrutiny. "People already doubt the effectiveness of the ABC program. What happened during the G20 Summit has been going on for years; the situation was simply more visible now due to the large number of dogs picked up," adds Christina.

She also criticised the lack of use of the SmartCity App for tracking these activities. "When animal lovers insisted that sterilised dogs should not be picked up, more than half of the dogs that were picked up weren't even registered on the App, making it nearly impossible to trace them back to their original locations."

Meet Ashar, Head of Cruelty Response at PETA India, points out the brazen violation of legal norms. "The law states that only unsterilised dogs can be picked up for sterilisation and must be released back into the same area. The procedure adopted for capturing dogs for the G20 Summit was totally illegal and not recognized by the law."

Cruelty Caught on Camera

The inhumane methods used in these activities have been caught on camera, showing dogs being dragged away, creating not only an ethical dilemma but also a potential public safety issue. "If we treat dogs in this manner, they will become afraid and possibly more aggressive towards humans," warns Ashar.

Despite reaching out to both the MCD and the Animal Welfare Board of India, no replies have been received. The glaring disparity between existing laws intended to protect animals and their enforcement raises serious questions about governance and ethical responsibility while India hosted its G20 Summit.

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