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Man-Animal Conflict On The Rise In Delhi-NCR

Recently, a dog was brutally beaten to death in Noida, and two days later, the guards in a society in Greater Noida attacked another community dog. Animal lovers say they are seeing an unprecedented rise in instances of man-animal conflict in Delhi-NCR. The laws in India are not equipped to protect animals from cruelty, writes Pavitra Utgikar.

By Pavitra Utgikar
New Update

publive-image (Left) Photo of a dog being brutally beaten up in Bhatta Colony, Noida. (Right) The dog succumbed to its injuries. | Photo courtesy: Special arrangement

On March 2, two men were seen mercilessly beating up a dog in Bhatta Colony in Noida. Many onlookers witnessed the incident, but no one stepped forward to rescue the dog. The dog later succumbed to its injuries at a care centre. Bobby Chauhan, a resident of the area, recorded the video related to the incident. Bobby recounts, “I recorded the video when I saw two men beating up the dog with sticks. Others were throwing stones at the dog. The dog was badly injured.”

Video of two incidents of dogs being beaten up in Noida and Greater Noida

Two days later, another incident took place in Greater Noida. A community dog was allegedly mercilessly beaten by security guards at the AWHO Township - an upscale society in Gurjinder Vihar. A cab driver on his way to the airport witnessed the incident, and he alerted the apartment residents. We accessed the CCTV footage of the incident that showed the brutality of the crime.

“The incident occurred on March 4. The police picked up some guards who did this. But then the Residents Welfare Association (RWA) of the society intervened and requested the cops to let the guards go. Finally, we learned that an FIR was registered in the case, but no one was named in the FIR. I don’t think there will be any action in this case beyond this,” says Parth Semwal, an advocate whose clients were the dog's caregivers.

Advocate and animal rights expert Vishal Gautam speaks to The Probe’s Pavitra Utgikar on the state of animal rights in India.

The instances of man-animal conflict in Delhi-NCR have seen a sudden spike recently, says Kaveri Rana Bharadwaj. Kaveri, known as the “dog mother” of Greater Noida, co-founded the Sophie Memorial Animal Relief Trust along with her husband. She also opened the first animal shelter in the city called the SMART Sanctuary. When Kaveri went to the AWHO Township to enquire about the incident, she said she was abused and harassed by some residents.

“See, I can tell you through my experience that the incidents related to man-animal conflict have been increasing steadily in this region. First, I got a voice recording of someone saying we must mass poison all the street dogs. He bragged that he had done this in Chandigarh and got away with it. He said it is very easy to mass poison them with meat and say they all had fallen sick and died. Immediately after that, I got many calls from dog lovers from AWHO who said that their community dog was beaten up. When I went to the society to meet the dog lovers, the dog haters abused and harassed me. Such is the hatred towards dogs,” states Kaveri.

Kaveri notes that in most cases related to violence against animals, FIRs don’t get registered quickly, and even if they do, the FIRs don’t name the accused persons. She states that another dog has gone missing since the last incident at AWHO, and the RWA of the apartment is contemplating action against dog feeders.

Commander Sukumar Bhaskar, a society resident, asserts that the community dogs in the society have started disappearing. “We had 51 dogs by our last count, and these cannot be called stray dogs. They are community dogs. But because of the stand of the RWA, in the last few days, a dog van has been coming, and they are taking away these dogs. Here people have a history of being cruel to dogs. They keep talking about shooting and killing dogs because they believe this is a territory where only humans should live.”

In a notice issued to the dog feeders in the society, the Secretary of the RWA writes: “This is to bring to your kind attention that some of the stray dogs being fed in the society have been attacking and biting the residents. There have been a large number of such cases. Such biting results in high cost of treatment for maids, liftsmen and other types of labourers. RWA requests the dog feeders to bear the cost of the treatment, for which you may please donate and maintain accounts. Another way forward can be that each dog feeder meets the cost of treatment of the victim one by one.”

Dog lovers in the society claim that such RWA notices are arbitrary and unlawful. They maintain that the police were not responsive and did not name the guards who beat up the dog on March 4. The Probe spoke to the case’s Investigating Officer (IO) Sunny Kumar, who said there is no provision to arrest anyone in such a case and confirmed to us that no arrests have been made so far.

Vishal Gautam, an advocate and an animal rights expert states that the Delhi NCR region has been witnessing a rise in incidents related to man-animal conflict. “The cruelty against animals has been on the rise. In most cases, the Resident Welfare Associations are involved in these incidents. Every day we see 5 to 10 cases related to cruelty against animals in the Delhi NCR region alone.”

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 was brought in to prevent the infliction of pain and suffering on animals. Though the government has proposed changes to this archaic law, the existing six-decade-old law has not been amended. According to Vishal, India is yet to come up with strong regulations to promote the welfare of animals. “We are still following the same old rules. For instance, an amendment was due to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960, but so far, that has not been done. The same old law is being followed to this date. The accused has to pay either 50 rupees or 100 rupees, and then it is over, and the accused usually gets bail. The police also do not take these cases seriously. Even FIRs don’t get registered, and most often, the FIRs get registered only when animal rights activists create a ruckus.”

Vishal adds, “There are other sections like Section 428 and 429 of IPC which make it illegal to maim or cause injuries to animals. But if you see the existing laws, the penalty is ridiculously low, and it’s easier to get bail in these cases. Nothing really happens. On the other hand, RWAs have been making illegal rules in societies. They cannot act against dog feeders or dog lovers because Article 51-A (g) of our constitution says that every citizen of India shall protect and improve the natural environment around us, including wildlife. It gives us the right to have compassion for living creatures, but the number of man-animal conflicts will steadily rise until the government comes up with stronger rules to protect animals from cruelty.”