There are many aspects of life in Kashmir which reflect the utter negligence of local people by the authorities both in Srinagar and Delhi. It is a fact that in spite of sixty years or so the Indian Government has failed to earn the trust and loyalty of common Kashmiris. Even though thousands of crores have been pumped in (unfortunately through wrong channels involving colossal transmission losses), to some how placate the people, yet it has not earned the love of the common masses. The most troubling aspect is the total alienation of the new generation brought up in the conflict of last two decades. During all these years the worst nightmare of a Kashmiri has been his daily confrontation with the security forces. Bunkers, pill-boxes, barriers, barbed and concertina wire rolls. The cordon, and search and numerous sudden checks on roadside have been a routine during the last two decades of turmoil. Thousands have been killed, injured, maimed, and have even disappeared without a trace! There are thousands of widows and orphans. Kashmiris have virtually lived through hell. As if these miseries were not enough, they have now another menace unleashed on them, the stray dogs!
Stray dogs are not a new phenomenon. These have been there for ages. However, their number had remained low because of the measures taken by the municipal authorities from time to time to restrict it. The problem has started only in last few years after the authorities were stopped from limiting their uncontrolled growth by culling. The stoppage of this procedure of limiting their numbers has been ostensibly because of the intervention by the so called “Animal Lovers”! One fails to understand why these people have developed such strong love for stray dogs only? There seems to be something more sinister behind this move of allowing uncontrolled growth of stray dogs. Thousands of sheep are slaughtered in Kashmir every day. Over tens of thousands of chickens meet the same fate. Same is the case with the different varieties of fish eaten all over the state. Why don’t the animal lovers feel any pain about the slaughtering of these animals? One does not see any sheep lovers or any chicken or fish lovers agitating for stopping their killing. These so called lovers may even themselves be enjoying various food delicacies prepared from the slaughtered sheep and chickens! A stark instance of the apathy of “dog lovers” is their total unconcern towards carcasses of dogs crushed by speeding trucks on highways. In some instances these remain on the roads for weeks! So much for the love of “dog lovers”!
There are laws for the protection of wild animals. However, whenever these animals pose a threat to human population, the same laws allow their killing. Take for instance the black bear, leopards, and so on. Whenever these animals attack human beings or in the case of leopards become man eaters, these are hunted down and killed. Why not the same procedure for the stray dogs especially the ones attacking people in different parts of the valley? The entire administration involved in tacking this menace seems to be either too scared or somehow paralysed. A number of plans are being floated for creating dog ponds and undertaking sterilisation which involve an expenditure of over one thousand crore rupees. There appears to be another scam in the making. One fails to understand how other states have tackled the problem? Even in Jammu one does not see such an uncontrolled growth of stray dogs. Why is this menace progressively increasing in Kashmir only?
There is a sinister connection of the present menace to the agitations of mid sixties. Those days the word “dogs” was extensively used in some other context. The nature has meted out poetic justice to Kashmiris who want to somehow get rid of these prowling “Kashmiri dogs” now! People who are aware of the situation of mid sixties would understand that probably some people must be feeling sadistic pleasure over the discomfiture of present day Kashmiris. Someone must be somewhere saying “Let Kashmiris go to dogs”! Literally the same thing is happening and the common people are unable to get rid of the menace. Even the so called “Civil Society” appears to be totally impotent in getting the common people rid of the menace. Strangely, people spend more time in seminars, conferences, and press meets than in taking any practical steps on the ground. Lot of pinning but no productive work! Someone has to come to the rescue of the people. Dachigam sanctuary was rid of the menace within twenty four hours under the orders of the Governor. The dogs there had been patronised by the Central Reserve Police Force who were ordered by the Governor to throw these out within twenty four hours. One wishes similar orders are passed to rid the general population of this menace! That would earn more good will than thousands of crores pumped in on some of the totally unproductive schemes. AS the canine attacks especially on kids grow more gruesome, people are bound come out on their own to protect their lives. That would start another phase of unrest with people coming out en masse on the streets to demand “Azadi” from the killer dogs!