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'Incentivize street dog adoption': Ecologist seeks moratorium on fancy breeds sale

By Rosamma Thomas* 
In a letter to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan last month, ecologist and member of the Expert Group on Biodiversity and Development of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity Dr S Faizi has suggested that one way to reduce the problem posed to public health by street dogs would be to impose a five-year moratorium on the sale of fancy breeds of dogs. Dog lovers must be encouraged and offered incentives to take in native breeds, so that such a large number of them do not go hungry and roam the streets.
Data from the directorate of health services shows that there has been a huge spurt in dog bite incidents in the state. There were 62,280 cases of dog bite in the state in 2013; 2.21 lakh cases were reported in 2021. “Street dogs menace has grown to become a civilizational crisis,” Dr Faizi wrote, adding that local self-government institutions have been hobbled in their attempts to deal with the situation by orders issued by the Union government during the term of Maneka Gandhi as minister of culture.
Faizi quoted Mahatma Gandhi, who in an article in "Young India" of the 1920s had defended his own approval of the killing of about 60 stray dogs by Ahmedabad industrialist Ambalal Sarabhai. Gandhi was then faced with severe criticism, for he was questioned about how a man who swore by ahimsa could support the culling of dogs. “A roving dog without an owner is a danger to society,” Gandhi wrote. Faizi points out that besides attacks on human beings, feral dogs pose a threat to wild animals and erode the efficacy of conservation measures for wildlife.
Faizi suggested to the chief minister that the Supreme Court must be petitioned to intervene to settle contradictions between the Prevention of Cruelty Act 1960 and the 2001 rules and the orders issued in this regard. The Act “may not stand judicial test as it is in repugnance with the State’s powers since the State Assembly alone can make laws on domestic animals, as it is a State subject; similarly it is a public health issue which is again a State subject,” Faizi explained.
The ecologist pointed out that in the past, it was not pointed out in court that Union government orders preventing culling of street dogs was illegal as the Prevention of Cruelty Act itself categorically asks the Animal Welfare Board vide section 9.f ‘to take all such steps as the Board may think fit to ensure that unwanted animals are destroyed by local authorities, whenever it is necessary to do so, either instantaneously or after being rendered insensible to pain or suffering’.”
Faizi points out that the killing of wild animals is allowed, once they are listed as vermin, under Schedule V of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. Nilgai, Wild Boar and Rhesus macaques have been culled after being declared vermin in four states. “Nobody can claim that the street dog, a pest or invasive species under the Biodiversity Convention, is superior to wildlife species in consideration,” Faizi writes, explaining, “At this rate, the eradication of rats, another mammal, will also be challenged at some point”.
*Freelance journalist based in Kerala



'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site The article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

BSF should take full responsibility for death of 4 kids in West Bengal: Rights defender

By Kirity Roy*  One is deeply disturbed and appalled by the callous trench-digging by BSF in Chetnagachh village under Daspara Gram Panchayat, Chopra, North Dinajpur District, West Bengal that has claimed the lives of four children. Along the entire stretch of Indo-Bangladesh border of West Bengal instead of guarding the actual border delineated by the international border pillars, BSF builds fences and digs trenches well inside the Indian territory, passing through villages and encroaching on private lands, often without due clearance or consent. 

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Students, lawyers, professors detained in Delhi for demonstrating in support of farmers

By Our Representative  About 25 protestors, belonging to the civil rights network, Campaign Against State Repression (CASR), a coalition of over 40 organisations, were detained at Jantar Mantar for holding a demonstration in support of the farmers' stir on Friday. Those detained included students, lawyers and professors, including Prof Nandita Narain and Prof N Sachin. 

Social justice day amidst 'official neglect' of salt pan workers in Little Rann of Kutch

By Prerana Pamkar*  In India’s struggle for Independence, the Salt Satyagraha stands as a landmark movement and a powerful symbol of nonviolent resistance. Led by Mahatma Gandhi, countless determined citizens walked from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi in Gujarat. However, the Gujarat which witnessed the power of the common Indian during the freedom struggle is now in the throes of another significant movement: this time it is seeking to free salt pan workers from untenable working conditions in the Little Rann of Kutch (LRK).

How GMOs would destroy non-GMO crops: Aruna Rodrigues' key submissions in SC

Counterview Desk The introduction of Bt and HT crops will harm the health of 1 billion Indians and their animals, believes Aruna Rodrigues, who has made some 60 submissions to the Supreme Court (SC) during the last 20 years. As lead petitioner who filed Public Interest Litigation in 2005, during a spate of intense hearings, which ended on 18 January 2024, she fought in the Apex Court to prevent the commercialization of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Indian agriculture. 

Jallianwala massacre: Why Indian govt hasn't ever officially sought apology from UK

By Manjari Chatterjee Miller*  The king of the Netherlands, Willem-Alexander, apologized in July 2023 for his ancestors’ role in the colonial slave trade. He is not alone in expressing remorse for past wrongs. In 2021, France returned 26 works of art seized by French colonial soldiers in Africa – the largest restitution France has ever made to a former colony. In the same year, Germany officially apologized for its 1904-08 genocide of the Herero and Nama people of Namibia and agreed to fund reconstruction and development projects in Namibia. .

Will Budget 2024 help empower city govts, make them India's growth engines?

By Soumyadip Chattopadhyay, Arjun Kumar* Cities in India are envisioned as engines of growth. Any meaningful long-term vision for India would be incomplete without planning for the cities and quite rightly, urbanization is considered as one of the country’s top developmental challenges. Realization of full potential of cities depends crucially on their ability to provide ‘enabling’ environment especially in terms of sustained provision of a wide range of urban infrastructure and services.

Interpreting UAPA bail provisions: Is Supreme Court setting the clock back?

By Kavita Srivastava*, Dr V Suresh** The Supreme Court in its ruling on 7th February, 2024 in   `Gurvinder Singh v State of Punjab’ held that its own well-developed jurisprudence that "Bail is the rule and jail the exception" will not apply to those charged under the UAPA.

A 'distorted narrative' of Indian politics: Congress failing to look beyond LS polls

By Prem Singh*  About 15 days ago, I told a senior journalist friend that there are not even two   months left for the Lok Sabha elections, Rahul Gandhi is roaming around on a delectation (tafreeh). The friend probably found my comment exasperating and replied that he is not on a delectation trip. The conversation between us on this topic ended there.