The administration in Mizoram’s Lunglei town has invoked Section 144 of the criminal penal code, but against dogs.
The law is typically imposed to stop people from gathering in large numbers at public places as a means of maintaining law and order.
But officials in Lunglei, 150 km south of state capital Aizawl, clamped it this month after at least a dozen people complained they had been bitten by stray canines.
“Dogs let loose on the streets have become a menace, forcing us to impose Section 144 for two months,” Lunglei deputy commissioner Margaret Zomingthangi told Hindustan Times.
The police have been asked to chase away or impound stray dogs. The administration has also cautioned people against letting their dogs out.
“Since the people took the order seriously, we haven’t had to go for sterner measures, such as imposing fines,” she added.
Mizos, like some Naga tribes, are known to rear dogs for meat. Lack of space in urban areas is often the reason why people let canines out on the streets. But dogs seldom attacked pedestrians here until a few weeks ago.
“Our officials took the initiative to admit the dog-bite victims to the Lunglei Civil Hospital,” said Zomingthangi, adding that she had requested the hospital to provide free treatment to four poor patients.
“This dog problem has made us mull a headcount of canines besides taking steps to register pets,”
said a Lunglei municipal officer.
This isn’t the first time that the law has been invoked against dogs in the Northeast. The administration in Arunachal Pradesh’s capital Itanagar had issued shoot-at-sight orders to check mongrel menace in 2001.
Around 5,000 dogs are estimated to be in the town and its outskirts, though no official count has been carried out.