Few days back a heart clenching video went viral on the internet. The video was of a nine-year old pet Labrador being mercilessly beaten with sticks by hanging it to a fish hook and then thrown into the sea by three youngsters. One of the accused recorded the same. This incident took place in the Adimalathura region in Thiruvananthapuram.
What was the dog’s mistake you ask? Well, he dared to rest under one of the accused’s boat after playing on the beach.
When G Christhurajan received the video of his beloved pet dog, Bruno, being badly thrashed even after his death, the former filed a complaint at the Vizhinjam Police Station. When the police took no action even after 24 hours of filing complaint, Christhurajan posted the said video on Facebook. The video went on to spark widespread outrage on social media platforms and caught the attention the culprit’s family, who in turn threatened to kill the owner’s family, if they went ahead with the police complaint.
But with the intervention from an animal welfare organisation People for Animal (PFA), the case was indeed registered. On July 1, the three accused youths were arrested but were later released on bail. Sunil, 22, and Siluvayyan, 20 were booked under Section 429 of Indian Penal Code. If they are found guilty under this section the accused would get a maximum punishment of up to five years of imprisonment. The third accused being a juvenile was not arrested.
People everywhere in the social media have been dejected over this incident and demanded justice for poor Bruno. Folks began to question the animal welfare legal guidelines of the Government and backlashed the culprits. The viral uproar of condolences for the poor canine and the gruesome video led to an initiation of a suo motu PIL by the Kerala High Court to monitor the measures taken at animal cruelty incidents.
On 2nd of July, the Kerala High Court paid a tribute to the poor canine by renaming the suo motu case on prevention of animal cruelty as ‘In Re: Bruno’ (In the matter of Bruno). According to Justice AK Jayasankaran Nambiar and Justice Gopinath P, “We feel that this would be a fitting tribute to the hapless dog that succumbed to acts of human cruelty, and disturbed by which incident we had initiated these proceedings.”
The court stated that the number of reported animal cruelty cases in recent years is alarmingly high and believes that the government should take positive actions to alleviate their suffering. In addition, the court ordered the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) to immediately develop a feasible action plan to raise citizens’ awareness and awareness of animal rights, their obligations and responsibilities in this regard. The terrible incidents that are reported recently must not happen again in the future, the bench said, requesting a report within a month.
In the order, the court also found that the state’s veterinary clinics and related infrastructure urgently needed improvement, and called on the state government to take action. The court subsequently ruled that the government should also oblige local authorities to comply with legal obligations and provide animal shelters, dog houses, cowsheds, etc.
A dog is called a man’s best friend but the opposite of the same is not always the true, especially in this case. The crimes against animals are rising at an alarming rate during this pandemic. People are taking out their frustration on the poor creatures and are abandoning their pets on streets. Even with Kerala High Court requesting AWBI in enacting feasible action plan, there is still a long way to go to truly lay a solid foundation for India’s animal legislation. The animal welfare provisions in the Indian Constitution are still principles, not specific laws that can be applied in court. The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 was not strict enough to truly prevent animal crimes. The law has not been strictly enforced, and it contains a number of regulations that provide room for manoeuvre to avoid liability. Enactment of stricter animal welfare laws for India is very much required.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
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