Dogged Society

Last week internet was flooded with pictures of a Baramullah boy’s mauled face attacked by a pack of canine dogs. The boy is said to be struggling for his life at Srinagar’s SKIMS hospital. His state is said to be critical. This is not the first incident where street dogs have attacked a resident. Kashmir’s post conflict history is full of dog bite related deaths. But the frequencies of attacks have increased in last few years, with most of the victims being young kids.

It is not news anymore that Srinagar, the financial summer capital of Kashmir, is home to around 90 thousand dogs. In simply words, there is roughly one dog for every 14 human souls!

It is an irony that no government in last 25 years, since the problem accelerated beyond control, has done anything to stop this menace.

Instead, Indian animal rights organizations evoked “dog rights” to counter locals demand for a lasting solution. After every incident, or mauling of a kid, government, for sake of cooling the public tempers, assures people of action. But action was never taken. There was no serious effort, or any effort at all by NC, PDP or any other quarter to rid people of this menace. Maybe the gravity of this sensitive issue is yet to be understood by the people who rule this state. In last five years more than 25000 dog bite cases were reported from different corners of the state. And more than 50 percent of the victims are under the age of 12.

With such a huge number of dog bites cases reported from Kashmir every day, how can any elected government look away and sleep in peace.

The data is available from Srinagar city only, what happens in the peripheral areas never makes to the newspapers. It gets buried there and then only. In last 5 years, it is said that dog population has grown by 50 percent, which is alarming by any standards.

The lack of seriousness on governments part, be it NC or PDP, has added to a commoners woes, as they are often left to nurse for themselves.

They only wake up after public outcry and pressure from the local media, but once the voice die down, government too is back to its routine, waiting for the next round of waking up. In 2011, a young boy from Zaina Kadal died when he jumped into river Jhelum after he was chased by a pack of dogs. It shook everybody. A day after his death SMC vowed to tackle the dog-menace on SOS basis. But once the boy’s death was buried under heap of news that conflict torn Kashmir generates daily, SMC was back to its usual business.

Now with state under governor’s rule, which is lauded by officials as well as commoners for his quick action style of work, let us hope that this basic human interest issue is taken up on priority basis so that no other precious life is lost.

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