The Uttar Pradesh police spent the last two days on their toes, barely taking a break from their investigative duties. Oddly enough, the reason was neither a communal clash nor a high-profile kidnapping, but an affable black Labrador that went missing from the house of Agra MP Ram Shankar Katheria earlier this week.
Displaying the kind of zeal that would impress most animal activists, police and well-wishers presented Katheria’s family with three dogs to choose from within 24 hours of lodging the report. However, two of them – one recovered from New Delhi and another from Bijlighar area – turned out to be doppelgangers. The real deal, a friendly canine called Kalu, was found wandering the streets of Lawyers’ Colony in Agra by a local resident.
For the untrained eye, it is notoriously hard to tell one Labrador from another. This became evident on Saturday morning, when morning-walkers spotted a dog resembling Kalu in Delhi’s Pitampura locality. Having read about the dog’s disappearance in the newspapers, they sent a photo of the dog to the Katherias via Whatsapp.
Katheria mistakenly believed that the canine was indeed Kalu. “Our missing dog has been found. He might have been taken away by someone, and left in Delhi,” he said then.
However, that wasn’t the end of the story. The same afternoon, the New Agra police claimed to have found the missing dog near Bijlighar Crossing. “The personnel at the outpost here found a black Labrador with a red collar. It had been bitten by local dogs. The MP’s family was informed,” said Dharmendra Singh, in-charge of the New Agra police station.
Katheria’s family members immediately rushed to the Bijlighar Crossing outpost, only to be met with disappointment. It wasn’t the dog in question.
Lady luck finally smiled on the now-distraught Katherias when Ravi Pratap, a resident of Lawyers’ Colony in Agra, said he had found a Labrador roaming around the area and taken it home. Soon Katheria’s spokesperson confirmed that the missing dog had been found. He said Kalu was immediately identified by Katheria’s other dog, Bhoora.
Dr Mridula Katheria, the BJP leader’s wife, thanked the police, mediapersons and well-wishers for helping them recover Kalu. She also sent the injured Labrador found in Bijlighar to a veterinary hospital for treatment.
In her complaint lodged with superintendent of police (city) Sudheel Dhule the previous day, Dr Mridula said the black Labrador had been missing since August 9. She said if the Uttar Pradesh police could look for state cabinet minister Azam Khan’s buffaloes, they could also search for her beloved Kalu.