40 Pet cats sacrificed, 150 stray dogs killed in NE | india | Hindustan Times
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40 Pet cats sacrificed, 150 stray dogs killed in NE

Superstition, not curiosity, killed the cats in Assam—at least 40 of them—while some 150 canines paid with their lives for leading a dog’s life in Meghalaya, reports Rahul Karmakar.

india Updated: Apr 26, 2007 19:39 IST

Superstition, not curiosity, killed the cats in Assam—at least 40 of them—while some 150 canines paid with their lives for leading a dog’s life in Meghalaya.

According to delayed reports reaching here, a group of ‘meebos’ or witchdoctors incited residents of the remote Madhupur Baroghoria village in eastern Assam’s Dibrugarh district to sacrifice at least 40 pet ‘mengkuris’ (cats) during in a little over a month. The pet felines were either beheaded or pierced apparently to ward off evil.

Madhupur Baroghoria, some 25 km from Dibrugarh town, falls under Barbaruah police station. The village, inhabited by over 400 Mishing tribal people, has been flood-prone besides being vulnerable to contagious diseases. The cats, according to the witchdoctors, embodied malevolent spirits and were at root of all trouble for the villagers.

Dibrugarh-based animal rights activist Nakul Khound said news of the mass cat sacrifice emanated late from the village as the meebos threatened those who wanted to let the cat out of the bag. “The lives of a 15-member group who protested the sacrifice are under threat,” he added.

Officers at the Barbaruah police station said they were helpless vis-à-vis the feline crime as “no one has filed any complaint”. Gaonburah (headman) Sashi Kaman has also refused to cooperate, as he “believes he will be cursed if he opens his mouth”.

If the mass cat sacrifice were not enough, the Dorbar Shnong (local administration) of Jowai town in Meghalaya eliminated over 150 stray dogs during the past week much to the chagrin of animal rights activists. Jowai is some 30 km from state capital Shillong.

Officials in Shillong said the local administration decided to cleanse the town of stray dogs after a man died of rabies a week back. The dog culling, ironically, coincided with light-hearted discussion in the Meghalaya Assembly, wherein the MLAs likened canines to illegal Bangladeshi migrants.

"This is pathetic; people just need an excuse to target cats and dogs,” regional head of People For Animals Sangeeta Goswami told HT. “We are following up on these incidents."