Kerala continues to see an increase in animal cruelty crimes despite having laws in place

On Friday, a man was taken into custody for tying a dog to his car and dragging it along a road in Athani, Ernakulam
Kerala continues to see an increase in animal cruelty crimes despite having laws in place

Over the years, Kerala has been witnessing several cases of animal cruelty. The state has seen several gruesome incidents where people have tortured, injured and killed animals such as stray dogs, cats and elephants, to name a few. A minister even went on record to say that the state will do mass culling of dogs before 2019 with the help of local bodies, which drew criticism of many. 2020 is coming to an end, and yet the state is witnessing gruesome cruelty inflicted on animals.

Let us take the recent example of animal cruelty that has been reported not just within the state but also by national media. On Friday, Chengamanad police officers arrested an Ernakulam native for tying a dog by its neck to his car and dragging it along a road in Athani, Ernakulam.

The police registered a case against Yousuf, the driver and the owner of the vehicle. The incident came to light after Akhil, a biker, shared the video on social media. According to the police, the dog creating a menace around Yousuf’s house. To end this menace, Yousuf decided to take the dog away from his locality.

Using a rope, Yousuf tied the dog to the car and drove away with the dog being dragged behind. At around 11 am, Akhil was returning from a hospital when he noticed the dog. From a distance, Akhil thought that the dog was chasing the car and started recording a video. It was when he got closer to the dog that Akhil realised what was going on. He shared the video immediately on social media. Kerala police got wind of the situation and arrested Yousuf. A case has been filed against him under sections 428 and 429 of the Indian Penal Code.

This is not the first time that the state has witnessed such a gruesome incident of animal cruelty. Stray animal-related incidents have been on the rise in the state for many years. Yes, the state has a dog menace situation, which has become a public health issue. The state government has tried to control the dog population by culling but has received severe backlash, with some even calling for a boycott on the state’s tourism. But culling stray animals is also animal cruelty and not an option. Some of Kerala’s animal cruelty cases have gone on to make national headlines.

In 2016, a social worker by the name of Jose Mavelli was taken into custody after it came to light that he had killed nearly 25 stray dogs in Ernakulam’s Chengamanad panchayath. However, stray dogs are not the only animal to suffer such brutal treatment.

Last year, a heavily pregnant cat was found hanging from a rope to a pillar adjacent to a compound wall separating two houses in Thiruvananthapuram. Reportedly, the cat died of strangulation. Police had filed an FIR in this regard. Meanwhile, a few days later, a man was taken into custody in Alappuzha for hanging a dog from a bridge at Kidangara. Later, he was released on bail. These events are inhumane, to say the least.

Even Kerala’s official animal, the Indian elephant, has not been spared. For years, temple tuskers and wild elephants have been beaten, tortured, injured and even killed. Let’s rewind to May 27 of this year.

The gruesome killing of a pregnant elephant in Palakkad’s Silent Valley is still fresh in the minds of many. The killing triggered strong condemnation across the country. The elephant had consumed a pineapple stuffed with firecrackers. On eating it, the firecrackers exploded in her mouth, severely injuring her lower jaw. Suffering intense pain, the elephant was looking for water to nurse her injury. She died a week later from her injuries.

Forest officers were stunned to see the elephant’s corpse. The elephant was found on the banks of the Velliyar River. It was hunched over in the river with its knees bent and head buried into the river, trying to reduce the unbearable pain it suffered. The state government ordered a probe into the incident. Later on, the police arrested a person in connection with the incident and added that more accused are yet to be charged.

But during the probe, animal rights activist and BJP leader Maneka Gandhi gave this incident a communal angle and twisted the facts of the story itself. She tweeted that Malappuram is known for its intense criminal activities, especially when it comes to animals. She went on to add that no action was taken against the poachers.

However, the BJP leader got her facts of the incident wrong. Kerala’s Chief Wildlife Warden and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan have confirmed that the incident took place in Palakkad and not in Malappuram, which is 85kms away. Vijayan added that Malappuram was dragged into this incident as Muslims are a majority in the district.

Ramesh Chinnithala, Leader of Opposition, wrote a letter to the BJP MP against “giving space for airing hate speeches abusing a district and its people.” He asked Maneka to apologize for the fake statement against Malappuram.

Animals do not deserve this kind of treatment, come what may. If there is an issue with stray animals, the public must contact the concerned authorities and must not take matters into their own hands, or there will be a heavy price to pay.

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