Srinagar Secretariat on Wednesday morning witnessed a high-voltage drama as an independent MLA Abdul Rasheed made an unsuccessful attempt to take hundreds of stray dogs inside the building.
Expressing anguish over the increasing attacks by stray dogs in his constituency Langate, Rasheed had warned the government of dire consequences for not taking stren action against the dog menace. He threatened to shift stray dogs in the courtyards of chief miniter Omar Abdullah, other ministers and bureaucrats.
"Dog terror has reached an alarming level in Kashmir. Unfortunately, after public outcry in urban pockets, dogs are being released in villages," said Rasheed (43), widely known as Engineer Rasheed for having a diploma in engineering.
The MLA has claimed that his constituency witnessed 41 dog bites on July 3.
"I had given ultimatum to the government to address the problem but nothing was done. I demand a state level policy on dog menace, not just for urban pockets," said Rasheed, when he was bundled in a police vehicle outside the secretariat at around 11 am.
The MLA had caught 60 dogs from his constituency to disembark them before the state bureaucracy. However, the state police filed the attemt by seizing the vehicles carrying dogs near north Kashmir's Sangrama area.
According to police, there were also two dogs in Rasheed's car, but were not allowed to come out. The MLA was put under preventive detention for 45 minutes in a local police station.
Five dogs were handed over to the Srinagar Municipal Corporation.
"This was a civil protest. I hope the ministers and bureaucracy now understand the seriousness of the issue," said the MLA.
Dog menace emerged as a major discourse in the state this year when officials put the number of dogs at 91,000 in Srinagar only, which is 1:13 dog-human ratio. The state has witnessed more than 25,000 bites in the last three years.
The municipality has started a major sterilisation drive to bring down the dog population. More than than 20,000 will be sterilised by the municipality in its first phase.