Maneka’s call for action against dog killers draws flak

Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 26 (IANS) Union Minister Maneka Gandhi on Wednesday said the Kerala Anti-Social (Prevention) Act (KAPA) should be used against those who kill stray dogs, and drew wide criticism in the state where stray dogs have become a major menace.

The minister’s comment also drew ire of people as it came on a day when a 90-year-old man succumbed here to his injuries he suffered when stray dogs mauled hiim.

Speaking to Asianet TV channel in Delhi, Gandhi, the union Women and Child Development Minister, said Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan should not sit silent when people are killing stray dogs.

She also said Kerala’s Director General of Police should charge such people under Kerala Anti-Social (Prevention) Act.

Hours after the minister’s comments, there has been an all-round protest against her in Kerala.

The first to react was leading businessman Kochuouseph Chittilapally, who said “those who speak like this should undergo a mental check-up”.

“I am fine and it’s she (Gandhi) who has to undergo it. And rather than being so much concerned about dogs, she should be worried for her son,” said Chittilapally, who has been in the forefront of the war against stray dogs in the state.

Kerala Minister for Local Self Government K.T. Jaleel said Gandhi is not seeing anything as she is in Delhi.

“Since she is not seeing or knowing anything, she can make such statements like KAPA and such things. We do not subscribe to such things,” said Jaleel.

State Congress President V.M. Sudheeran said that use of the KAPA is not a sensible solution at all.

Soon after Gandhi’s statement came the news that a 90-year-old man was mauled by stray dogs while he slept outside his home here on Wednesday and later succumbed in hospital, officials said.

Raghavan, who stayed at tourist destination Varkala, on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram, died of his severe injuries later in the evening.

This is the second death in Kerala following a stray dog attack. In August, a 65-year-old woman was mauled to death near Kovalam, a popular tourist destination.

All eyes are on Thursday’s session of the Kerala assembly as public sentiments are overflowing against Gandhi and her statement on stray dogs.