:Stray dogs can be used by terrorists to launch ‘fidayeen attacks’ on the Delhi airport, authorities have said.
In a communication to the South Delhi Municipal Corporation, the Delhi International Airport Limited has asked the civic body to relocate all stray dogs that roam around near terminal areas of the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport. The letter comes in the wake of a terror attack on the air force base in Pathankot.
“…a trend wherein dogs have been used to explode the explosive devices at public areas,” the letter says, referring to the potential danger posed by canines.
The airport authorities, however, could not be contacted for comments despite repeated attempts.
As per the policy, the civic body only sterilises stray dogs and then releases them back in the areas they are picked up from. Though the total number of strays in the Capital is not known, a conservative estimate puts their numbers at around 400,000, sources said.
The IGI airport has been battling the problem of stray dogs for the past some time. DIAL had written to the SDMC earlier too, complaining of a group of stray dogs that target passengers as soon as they step out of Terminal 3 or Terminal 1. The airport officials had said it not only posed a threat to passenger safety but also tarnished the image of the airport.
“When a passenger is bitten by a dog, we cannot tell him/her that dog is sterilised or not. The passengers blame the airport staff and some even threaten to sue us,” said an airport official.
Municipal officials said they had received the letter from the department of landside operations for DIAL and they sought suggestions from the Animal Welfare Board of India.
“The Animal Birth Control (Dogs) rules 2001 don’t allow us to relocate dogs in any circumstances. The law only permits us to sterilise dogs, keep them till they heal and then release in the same locality from where they were picked up. Since the matter concerns national security we have sought advice from the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) in the matter,” said a senior municipal official.
The AWBI officials said they are bound by the law and relocation of the strays may not be possible at this juncture. They said the authority was trying to a scientific way out of the problem.
“In the context of security threats, the dogs on airport premises have to be removed. Although at the same time, those outside can’t be removed or relocated. The only permitted way to deal with them is to sterilise them, which would bring down the population over a period of time and hence solve the problem systematically,” said Major General (Retd) RM Kharb, AVSM, chairman, Animal Welfare Board of India.