Feeding of stray dogs has become an intense issue lately, in the premises of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). A group of seven women has alleged that the authorities is stopping them from feeding the strays on the campus, as a result, the strays are forced to starve.
“My friends and I have been looking after these dogs everyday for a decade now, and suddenly we have been told that we cannot do so as outsiders aren’t allowed inside the campus anymore,” says Neerja Chaudhry, who is part of the group. “A female dog had recently given birth to puppies and when we pleaded the chief security officer to let us in and look after them, his reply was a callous ‘let them die’. Not just that, the guards even broke the thermocol house that we had made for them,” she adds.
Chaudhry explains that as per High Court orders, people can feed strays at Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) designated feeding spots. “Out of seven of us, some are JNU alumni and one even has a feeder’s card so she has all the right to feed dogs. But the guards have noted down our vehicle numbers to stop us from entering. They have even physically misbehaved with us, and thrown away the food that we carry. Even the police refuse to help us in the matter, saying that it is JNU administration’s call and they can’t do anything about it,” she says.
The administration, however, has another story to tell. “JNU Security has never assaulted anybody. And JNU residents are allowed to feed strays at designated points. Notice boards are displayed to identify them,” says Poonam S Kudaisya, PRO, JNU.
Naveen Yadav, chief security officer, JNU, says, “Yes, we have stopped people from entering the varsity campus but we have not misbehaved with anyone. The administration had passed orders restricting the entry of outsiders and some people even filed cases against it, but in the end, it is the varsity’s call.”
However, Meenakshi Awasthi, from People for Animals (PFA) says, “What the JNU authorities are doing is illegal. Volunteers can feed the dogs as JNU is not a restricted space and has established 15 feeding places. The Chancellor of the University has asked the Vice Chancellor to step in but he is not taking a stand on the matter.”