An Open Letter to Hon’ble Mr. Justice Dipak Misra & Hon’ble Mr. Justice Amitava Roy
With reference to the order passed November 17, 2016, in the context of
Petition(s) for Special Leave to Appeal (C) 691/2009
(Arising out of impugned final judgment and order dated 19/12/2008 in ASWP No. 6257/2006 passed by the High Court Of Bombay)
ANIMAL WELFARE BOARD OF INDIA Petitioner(s)
PEOPLE FOR ELIMINATION OF STRAY TROUBLES.& ORS Respondent(s).
Hon’ble Mr. Justice Dipak Misra & Hon’ble Mr. Justice Amitava Roy,
Thank you for taking note of the atrocities that have been meted out to the stray dogs in Kerala. Thank you also for considering the instances of incentivized killing of dogs and for summoning Mr. Jose Mavely to be present at the next hearing.
This letter is written primarily with reference to the part where it is stated that Your Lordships have failed to understand certain things, and I quote:
“However, we really fail to fathom [emphasis added] that when there is a law in place to deal with the stray dogs, how the associations and groups can be formed to train the children to kill the stray dogs or an association which can distribute subsidized airguns for people to kill stray dogs or publically propagate that there must be war against stray dogs. Mr. Giri, learned senior counsel for the State submits that this Court has already directed an enquiry to be conducted in that regard by Justice Sri Jagan Committee and the State shall also book the people involved under the relevant criminal law. Mr. Giri is of the indubitable opinion that the citizens cannot form such associations and take the law unto their own hands.”
The real stray dogs of Kerala
But first, since Your Lordships have been shown images of dead dogs, it might put things in perspective to know what stray dogs in Kerala are like when they’re still alive:
This short documentary may soon acquire historical value.
If the degree of compliance with the previous order from the Hon’ble High Court is anything to go by, precious few, if any, would be left of these dogs by the time the matter comes up for the next hearing on March 01, 2017.
As some YouTube videos will show you, it has been easy for the Bravehearts of Kerala to kill them since they are trusting of humans and frequently came wagging their tails upon being called by their would-be killers.
Your Lordships, I suspect that not a fraction of the dogs would have been killed had they really been rabid or violent. And, certainly, the following methods of killing from close quarters never would have been adopted:
“Eyewitnesses said that the dogs, which were caught with traps, were killed using unimaginably cruel methods like bashing the head against the ground, gyrating in the air using ropes tied around the neck, hitting the heads with wooden blocks and pulling on the neck.” (Source)
Reactions to the latest order from the Hon’ble Supreme Court
Your Lordships may find the following reactions from Kerala interesting:
Earlier, when one of their own try to convince them against killing by citing a news item that reports how 4 stray dogs kept a newborn girl alive until help arrived, the reaction is to ask defiantly and sarcastically if the dogs should be given an award.
About Sri Jagan Committee’s findings
Just a few words in the context of Sri Jagan Committee’s findings on stray dog bites before proceeding to the subject of this letter:
The Times of India reported that according to data from Ernakulam General Hospital, over 75% dog bites came from pet dogs.
The Hindu reported in an article titled, Low turnout at Siri Jagan panel hearing:
“Only six claimants attended the first public hearing of the Supreme Court-appointed committee led by former Kerala High Court judge Justice S Siri Jagan to look into the compensation of victims of stray dog bites, despite over 29,000 reported stray dog attacks in the district just in the year 2015 .
So far, the Jagan committee has received just around hundred claims for compensation from all over the State. This comes as a surprise, given that according to a report the committee presented before the Supreme Court, around three lakh people have been bitten by stray dogs in the last three years.”
Subject of this letter
With apologies for the rather long preamble, may I present my views on what I believe was the missing piece that left Your Lordships perplexed.
The order does not reflect that Your Lordships were informed of the role of Kochouseph Chittilappilly in the entire business.
Just a bit of data gathered from various news reports and the said individual’s own Social Media account could, perhaps, better elucidate what I’m getting at.
The role of Sri Kochouseph Chittilappilly, Industrialist & Philanthropist
Since 2014, Kochouseph Chittilappilly, also known as KC, has been spreading panic on a regular basis on social media (his Facebook Page has quite an audience and 630,269 ‘likes’ at the time of writing this letter) and in person about stray dog attacks with misleading images (the story of fake dog attack image is documented here), ill-informed and provoking statements, and ridiculous videos. His supporters have also joined in. They openly discuss methods of killing dogs and poisoning them with what would make them behave like mad dogs.
He has misled the public repeatedly with lies about ABC:
“Vaccination and sterilization won’t stop stray dogs from biting. Rather as per studies, because of the shocking experience they went through, they become more aggressive.”
He has encouraged people to break the law, pointing out the loopholes, and promised them that his organization would support such law-breakers:
“The penalty amount for killing a stray dog was only Rs 50. If everyone decides to kill a stray dog a day, then the menace will be over.”
He has been telling people that stray dogs endanger people by just being there and that every single one of them must be exterminated. Apparently, since the dogs often feed on slaughterhouse waste dumped by the streets, they have become as ferocious and flesh-craving as wolves.
Posting a video of two dogs fighting with each other (the dogs make no effort to attack the humans that are trying to stop the fight), KC posts sagely,
“Dogs are powerful, ferocious and dangerous to everyone other than its owner. Stray dogs that have tasted raw blood and flesh are dangerous. So, beware, rather than regret later!”
He has publicly offered money for killing dogs, called the Kerala DGP a “joker” and promoted racism by saying that Kerala didn’t need a non-Keralite DGP. And all this because the DGP did not advocate wanton killing of dogs or the promoting of such killing.
” Chengamanad panchayat council stands as a shining example by unitedly choosing to end stray dog menace to save hapless people. They deserve much appreciation and support, and Stray Dog Free Movement wishes to promise the same…
“Congratulations to Councillor Jils Periappuram and others for killing the dangerous stray dogs… I extend my full support for continuing this good deed. If they have killed 10 stray dogs, and if 10 volunteers come forward to admit responsibility for the same, they will easily get bail from the police station itself for a fine of Rs. 50. That’s all. The Stray Dog Free Movement is happy to extend any legal support in this case…”
He has also slyly projected the idea of secretly training dogs to be violent:
one of my friends called me and wittingly said: “We need to train the stray dogs to bite stray calves, buffaloes, etc., by privately feeding them with raw beef and blood, so that the issue will get a national-level attention. People are being bitten, but nobody seems to notice. If they bite cows, at least one set of Hindus will take notice of it and wipe out the stray dogs once and for all !!!”
May be a weird idea, but desperate people are forced to think of desperate measures…
Possible consequences: an unfortunate example
Is it my imagination, or did these regular postings (only a fraction has been mentioned here) serve to create panic and irrational fear regarding dogs amongst the masses?
And innocent persons may have suffered because of that. The latest incident being the one published by The Hindu that says,
An 18-year-old student died at Kadangode, near Erumappetty, in the district on Friday after she fell into a well while trying to escape from stray dogs … She was chased by stray dogs at her neighbour’s compound … While fleeing from from the dogs she fell into a 25-foot-deep well, which didn’t have a protective wall.
Surely, there were no ‘rabid’ strays in her neighbour’s compound? It may not be illogical to assume that the poor girl was terrified of the dogs by the mere sight of them. When she tried to run away from them, they ran instinctively after her, with no particular purpose, as dogs almost invariably do when they find people running.
It is another matter that the media has straightaway called it a case of the girl being chased by a pack of dogs to her death.
Your Lordships might find the following interesting, coming from an experienced veterinarian:
R. Jayaprakash, Director of Clinics, Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (TANUVAS) asserts that “A pack of dogs attacking a man unprovoked and killing him is a lie. Very rarely do dogs form a pack. Even if they do, they do not develop the tendency to kill people. In my career as a veterinarian I have not come across a single case of dogs killing a man.”
And yet, according to KC, Kerala is practically overrun with stray dogs hungry for human blood, and the dogs must be exterminated en masse. The panic and hatred that abound in Kerala lead to the victimization of not just stray, but pet dogs as well.
Why are stray dogs Chittilappilly’s pet peeve?
It is possible to dismiss KC’s posts as arising out of irrational fear of dogs. However, things may not be that simple.
- Kerala has been culling dogs in the most brutal manner in spite of recommendations from Indian Veterinary Association, Kerala, to adopt ABC.
- Kerala may not really want to spay and neuter to reduce dog population because it has been officially proposed at local administrative levels to begin dog farming for dog meat export.
- Kerala may have already exported live dogs to the infamous Yulin dog meat festival where, among other atrocities, dogs are boiled and roasted alive to be served as food.
Incidentally, the international community has been aware of this for some time now.
How does one plan to gain acceptance for dog meat trade in India?
- It seems logical that if someone wanted to start a dog meat trade without objection from the people, they would first want to make certain that dogs are condemned as a menace.
- They would also try to convince the people that ABC is a useless program and a waste of money.
- After creating mass hysteria about dogs and labeling them as evil animals that regularly feast on human flesh and blood, the next step would be to horrify and desensitize the masses by the brutal culling methods.
- And the final step would be to claim that since it is impossible to control the ever increasing population of dogs (ABC being useless and killings being objectionable), the only sensible step would be to farm the dogs and export them for meat and skin to bring in foreign currency and provide the locals with employment opportunities.
Whether KC’s posts are out of irrational fear or if they are part of a nefarious plan, only the most thorough investigation may reveal. However, when taken together, things certainly do not seem too simple. Especially since he has also advocated in favour of the idea of dog meat export, and offered to sponsor a freezer container vehicle to transport dogs once they are killed. And his proposal is ‘liked’ by 1.4k individuals.
Dog culling in Kerala: more than just cruelty to animals ?
An incident was reported where Jose Mavely’s hired dog killer, Ranjan, rounded up 20 dogs and strangled them in full view of the public, including children.
As Your Lordships may observe, Ranjan holds two dogs at once, both docile, and puts makeshift nooses around their necks. The lactating bitch is waiting in resignation to be strangled.
Later, the audience poses smilingly with the lifeless bodies of the dogs.
I repeat: The brave people of Kerala wouldn’t have dared to kill the dogs had they been rabid or violent.
It is a well-known fact that child abusers and criminals only too frequently have a history of animal abuse. Incidentally, the connection was brought to my notice by a Keralite.
- Not just dogs, the abuse extends to pride of the State, elephants, as well. Elephants are beaten mercilessly, sometimes to death.
- In Kerala, 4 children are sexually abused every day, in most instances, by “a relative, teacher or a priest in the locality”. The trend has, apparently, doubled in the past three years.
- Other alarming statistics include 74% children being addicted to tobacco, and the State having the highest number of cancer patients in the country.
- Even more shocking, perhaps, is the finding that many elderly women commit suicide to avoid sexual abuse from family members.
All this, in spite of the near 100% literacy rate in the State.
Is this cruelty or sickness?
After the killing and parading of dogs by the Youth Congress (M) members, PETA suggested they be taken in for psych evaluation.
A group of unevolved and violent individuals going berserk and killing harmless dogs I can understand. I wouldn’t be surprised if, some day, they did this to humans as well.
However, the composed demeanor of Ranjan as he prepares to kill 20 harmless and completely defenseless beings is unsettling. Even more unsettling, perhaps, is how the people watch the murders and then pose with the ‘trophies’.
It might be in context to note that KC posts the image of such posing (in a collage) and incites the populace further:
“Stray dog attacks on people and domestic animals continue without any respite in sight… Six members of a family, two children, a cow, 22 chickens, thus goes the long list, which is just tip of the iceberg. Meanwhile, Maneka Gandhi is answerable to the Court and the people of this country as to why she prefers stray dogs over women and children…”
The State’s claims about ‘stringent’ action upon the perpetrators may ring a trifle hollow, in any case, if Your Lordships kindly consented to examine the extent of such stringency.
It is not my intent to defame the State of Kerala.
I am aware that just about any place in the world may have its unflattering side.
However, to quote the Bard, when so many negatives ‘Do so conjointly meet, let not men say, / “These are their reasons.”‘
I do not find it difficult to imagine that a lot more people in Kerala need to be evaluated psychologically to save the State from itself.
My prayers to Your Lordships
I sincerely hope that I’ve been able to give Your Lordships reasons to believe that taking into consideration the role of Kochouseph Chittilappilly would help Your Lordships to exactly fathom what has really been going on with Kerala.
- And I do hereby pray that Your Lordships may be pleased to act suo motu regarding Kochouseph Chittilappilly as also about the State of Kerala as a whole.
- I also pray that Your Lordships may kindly consider the following as a testimony of what the real story in Kerala is. Ajantha Jancy Thomas has kindly given me permission to share her Facebook Profile URL so that her words may be verified if necessary.
I thank Your Lordships yet again.
(Just another law abiding citizen).
Featured image courtesy: Indialivetoday.Com
Other images: Facebook