The district authority in Nagaland has asked the police to investigate into the killing of eight pet dogs by the members of a local students body, reportedly because their owners did not vaccinate the canines despite directives.
The Deputy Commissioner of Mon district in Nagaland, Thavaseelan K, said on Friday that he has asked the police to register an FIR and probe the matter.
“We would take appropriate action after getting the police report. Details of the happenings are under collection,” the Deputy Commissioner told IANS over phone from the district headquarters.
He said the district authorities have received different versions of the incident related to the killing of the dogs on May 17.
According to the police, the Nokzang Students’ Union in Mon district had served a notice on May 8 asking the villagers to vaccinate their pet dogs before May 15, failing which ‘action would be taken against the canines’.
The students’ union asked all the dog owners in the tribal dominated village of Nokzang to vaccinate their pets against rabies.
The police said that members of the students’ union shot dead eight ‘infected’ dogs for attacking livestock and children.
Local media reports said that some members of the students’ body also collected a fine of Rs 500 each from the owners of the eight dogs for defying their directives.
According to media reports, the students’ association members claimed that the dogs were a threat to the cattle and children of the village, which lacks proper road connectivity for the locals to avail medical care in emergency situations.
With a population of 2,50,260, Nagaland’s Mon district, bordering Myanmar, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, is the third largest district in the state, representing 10.77 per cent of the total area of Nagaland.
After Mizoram, the Nagaland government had in July last year banned commercial import and trading of dogs and dog markets and also the sale of dog meat, both cooked and uncooked.
However, the Kohima bench of the Gauhati High Court in November last year had granted an interim stay to the Nagaland government’s July 2 decision to ban commercial import, trade and sale of dogs and dog meat in the markets of the northeastern state.
The Nagaland government had referred to the food safety regulations as the main reason for the prohibition, but the decision was believed to have been taken under pressure from animal rights groups, both in India and abroad.
BJP MP and animal rights activist Maneka Gandhi, journalist and former parliamentarian Pritish Nandy and many other animal lovers have been urging the governments of northeastern states, including Mizoram and Nagaland, to ban killing and religious slaughtering of animals, including dogs.
Dog meat is a delicacy among certain communities in the two northeastern states of Nagaland and Mizoram.
(Sujit Chakraborty can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)