This is a series of posts on Kashmir where getting a head-start into writing has been a nightmare since it seems a highly personalized polarized situation. So we’d refrained comment without any clear evidence in our hands. However now we’re in possession of a bunch of official documents – which we’re digitizing and putting out and asking the relevant questions that arise from them. As with the other writing on ‘The Voice of Stray Dogs’, unless otherwise specified, the article is authored by Rakesh Shukla and expresses the opinion of Rakesh Shukla & The Voice of Stray Dogs, and not necessarily that of VoSD Board members since individual comment/ contribution and consent is not sought.
Deposition on 16th August 2011 before the High Court of Jammu & Kashmir at Srinagar OWP (PIL) 361/2011 states that they had discussed and agreed to make ‘dog pounds’ at SKUAST (where currently the ABC program has commenced). The problem? Under Indian law ‘dog pounds’ i.e. places where dogs are incarcerated and/or put down are not allowed. Indian law does not allow (a) dogs to be euthanized or (b) to be relocated [read Animal Birth Control Rules (2001)]
A reading of the court affidavit shows:
- The Commissioner of Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) state that “SMC had started construction of dog pounds at Khimber vide order 169-HUD dt 19 July 2011
- The committee was directed to “…observe the behavior of dogs kept in dog pounds and give recommendations on required no of pounds, requirements of food, dog catchers etc.
- Para 2: “This site was found unsuitable and the Tripartite Agreement had been signed in the meanwhile”
- Para 3: In light of the above “It is proposed to construct a few pounds within the premises of Veterinary Science College of Shuhuma Alasteng and also create facility for dog dog sterilization at the center”
- Para 4: 2 pounds had already been initiated on the day of the deposition to the court and “… As soon as the pounds are completed, the stray dogs will be lodged in pounds….”
- Para 5: “..as soon as suitable alternate site is allocated by the deputy Commissioner Srinagar, work for construction of other pounds will be taken in hand ….”
- Annexure D1: Dated 19 Aug 2011 states clearly that the decision “… regarding catching of stray dogs. lodging the dogs in pounds….” was taken by
- Commissioner, Srinagar Municipal Corporation (Convener)
- Director, Animal Husbandry Department, Kashmir (Member)
- Dean, SKUAST (Member)
- An ‘expert’ from AWBI (Member)
- Municipal Vetenirary Officer, Srinagar (Member)
So why was AWBI a part of committing dog pounds in the High Court? How/why has it said later that these were not actually dog pounds then it is know that neither do the ABC Rules have in jurisdiction in J & K nor the Vet Council of India (VCI) has any real sanctity in SKUAST?