Thiruvananthapuram | Kerala Minister for Local Administration KT Jaleel on Friday sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention to restrain Union minister Maneka Gandhi from making statements with regard to checking the stray dog menace which has claimed four lives in the last four months in the state.
Jaleel made the statement in the Assembly while referring to Maneka’s remark that the Kerala Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act should be imposed on those who cull street dogs to protect the people from their attacks.
The issue of street dogs was raised in the House as a notice for an adjournment motion by the Congress-led UDF Opposition in the backdrop of the gruesome killing of a 90-year-old man at Varkala by a pack of stray dogs on October 26.
“Maneka Gandhi was asking the state DGP to impose KAAPA on those killing street dogs, even though there is no such provision for it. We are lucky that she did not want to impose the provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act,” Jaleel said.
Terming the Union minister’s statement “irresponsible”, he said such an opinion amounted to violating the federal system in the country. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi should intervene to restrain her from making such statements,” he said.
Cutting across party lines, members expressed strong reservation over Maneka’s “frequent intervention and remarks” in connection with the measures to check the stray dog menace.
They also alleged that she had virtually put obstacles in the state’s anti-stray dog mission.
The lone BJP member in the House, O Rajagopal, however, said the state should not backtrack from its initiatives for the statement of an “individual Union minister”.
Explaining the gravity of the menace, Jaleel said four persons were killed in the last four months in stray dog attacks and 701 people, including 175 children, suffered dog bites across Kerala.
This year, 53,000 people had to take treatment for dog bites in government medical college hospitals alone, he added.
As many as 88,172 suffered dog bites in 2013, 1,19,119 in 2014 and 47,156 in 2015 in the state, Jaleel said.
On the demand from several quarters for culling dogs, he said though there was a provision in law to kill dangerous and ferocious dogs, a recent Supreme Court intervention had resulted in stalling the further proceedings in this regard.
The legal option available to contain the menace is to implement the sterilisation programme effectively and other initiatives such as waste management, he pointed out.
The government was aware of the seriousness of the situation and would take all possible measures to put an end to the problem, the minister added.