Residents of Delhi and other national capital region towns gathered in hundreds at a protest march held against mistreatment of animals in Gurgaon on Saturday.
Originally organised by a motley group of animal lovers in Gurgaon, the rally named ‘Walk for Animals’ eventually pulled like-minded individuals and NGOs from Delhi, Faridabad and even Noida.
“We have to reach a consensus so that both animal lovers and those who hate animals are happy and both animals and humans can peacefully coexist in the urban space,” said Gurgaon Municipal Commission R.K. Khullar. He was the chief guest.
Delhi-based animal welfare NGOs such as People for Animals, Frendicos and Citizens for Animal Rights, among others, joined the cause.
The genesis of the issue lies in the rapid urbanisation of Gurgaon leading to usurping of open grazing lands by property developers.
“The huge machines come and claim their share of lands and then that becomes inaccessible to cows and other little animals, who have no choice but to wander on the highways,” said Prof. Amita Singh, one of the main initiators of the rally.
“Then they get stolen by criminals.”
Singh and her friends followed up with the local police for months to catch a number of trucks full of stolen cows on the Gurgaon-Delhi highway, she said. “We saw cows huddled together, rods inserted in their back to make them immobile, bleeding… it was horrible.”
Khullar said, “There is no dearth of land or money for animal rehabilitation. All we need is to start the job, which we will.”
“Some of us have been doing whatever we can for animals locally, as individual initiatives. But now we hope several forces will come together and strengthen the cause,” said Versha Sharma, founder of animal NGO Princeton Club.
A few days later, residents will meet the municipal commissioner and present him with a list of things needed for the welfare of animals in Gurgaon.