Safety of Doctor or Safety of Stray Dogs? AMU becomes ground for clash after unfortunate death of retired doctor

Muzaffarnagar: The Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) has now become a ground for standoff after the unfortunate incident of a retired doctor being mauled to death by stray dogs.

Following the unfortunate incident, the University had written to Aligarh Municipal Corporation with a request to catch the strays from the campus.

However, the drive against stray dogs has now invited the attention of MP Maneka Gandhi, who is known to be an animal lover. Meanwhile, the NHRC has also intervened in the matter raising the question of what the authorities are doing on the issue of the right to life of humans and protection from stray animals.

According to reports, instead of removing the stray dogs from their natural habitat on the campus, MP Gandhi has given some alternative suggestions to the health officer of the University including commencing sterilisation of all dogs, setting up feeding points for them inside the campus etc.

Further, taking suo-motu cognizance of the unfortunate death of the doctor, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued notices to the Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh, the vice-chancellor of AMU, and the Aligarh Municipal Commissioner. The Commission has sought a detailed report regarding the incident within six weeks.

The shocking incident took place last week when the 65-year-old retired doctor was out for a morning walk on the University campus. Medical Dialogues had earlier reported that the doctor was mauled to death by a pack of six-seven stray dogs. The deceased, who had worked with UNICEF and was a resident of a locality adjoining the campus, was on a morning walk in a garden at around 6:00-6:30 Am at the Sir Syed Museum when the stray dogs barked at him and attacked him.

The incident was recorded in a CCTV camera, a video clip of which surfaced on social media. In the video, it could be seen that the victim was attacked by a pack of dogs, who dragged him across the park through his canines before he succumbed to his injuries. SP Kuldeep Singh Gunawat said that a police team rushed to the spot, but by then the victim had died.

Also Read: Stray dogs menace: Retired doctor mauled to death on AMU campus

As per the latest media report by the Times of India, following the incident, NHRC took suo motu cognisance of the doctor’s death. Issuing notices to the Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh, VC of AMU, and Aligarh Municipal Commissioner sought a detailed report within six weeks.

Further, the Commission sought to know if the doctor’s family has been given any relief or not. It also sought comments from the secretary of Animal Welfare Board of India, Ministry of Animal Husbandry and Dairying. The Commission inquired about the current status of the implementation of provisions of law and its strategy to deal with the issue of the right to life of humans and protection from stray animals while considering the rising number of attacks by stray animals on humans.

However, NHRC also clarified that animal rights are advocated and supported in the same way as human rights as it is important to safeguard and protect animals from oppression, confinement, and abusive treatment, which might be caused by human beings. 

On the other hand, the commission referred to the continuous conflicts between humans and unruly animals and how the numbers of such incidents are increasing every day. Referring to this, NHRC observed that the authorities need to consider the gravity and seriousness of the matter and take effective action without wasting time.

Referring to the observation made by the Supreme Court clarifying that there is no ambiguity that the rights to life and health of a person are inalienable rights, the Commission further stated, “Therefore, there is a need to protect the right to life of a human.”

Meanwhile, taking action after the unfortunate incident, AMU had written to Aligarh Municipal Corporation and requested them to catch and remove the stray dogs from the campus.

TOI adds that former Union Minister Maneka Gandhi took notice of the issue and calling the AMU health officer, she offered suggestions to deal with the matter. Commenting on this, the proctor of the University Waseem Ali added, “Yes, Maneka Gandhi suggested that the dogs not be moved, only the strays that are ferocious. And suggested designated feeding points for dogs on the campus… Therefore, we have dropped the idea of shifting the strays and are considering spots in the area for the feeding centres to be set up.”

“AMU is a large university. There are many strays living in the campus and they keep coming from nearby residential areas. There are also several dining halls where the dogs look for food left-overs. We are still in touch with the Aligarh civic body and have also formed a committee to look into the matter,” he further added.

Speaking to the daily regarding the issue, MP Gandhi mentioned, “I have told them to start sterilisation of all dogs and I also made arrangements for it. Besides, I asked the AMU administration to make a feeding centre at a particular spot. The dogs should be treated as per law, I asked them not to capture and remove them from their natural habitat..”

“If you want to feed them, then fix a time, rather than throw food around for them. They (authorities) should measure the campus area and arrange food accordingly,” she added.

Also Read: Stray dogs menace: Infant mauled to death at Rajasthan Hospital

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