Sisters assaulted, harassed and molested for feeding strays outside their society in Mumbai
Lack of uniform guidelines for pets in housing complexes results in constant tussles between pet owners and other residents, and leads to rise in animal cruelty cases.mumbai Updated: Oct 27, 2017 11:54 IST
The Kurar police station arrested a family of four on charges of molestation, harassment and assault on two women for feeding strays outside their society in Dindoshi on Tuesday.
Kiran Ahuja, 29, a physiotherapist, and her sister Shilpa, 28, a corporate lawyer; have been feeding close to 80 dogs every day within the Dindoshi area in Mumbai’s suburbs over the past few years. They moved to Sanjay Gandhi Nagar SRA in Dindoshi in March, where they continued feeding strays at one end of the colony. However, after regular complaints from residents, Kiran and her sister began feeding the dogs outside the society premises from April onwards.
Kiran told HT that she and her sister were both registered with the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), and were allowed to feed and neuter (most common way of sterilization of animals) dogs. “Since April onwards, we ensured that majority of the dogs in the area were neutered. However, there were two that we were unable to sterilize. One of the dogs gave a litter of seven pups during the second week of October,” she said.
She alleged that while she and her sister were at Raipur, Chhattisgarh for Diwali celebrations, the family of four accused took the dogs and dumped them at a nearby isolated location. After the sisters returned, they were able to bring back only four of the seven dogs. “After reaching out to union cabinet minister Menaka Gandhi and her NGO, we were directed to file complaints,” said Kiran.
Lack of uniform guidelines for pets in housing complexes results in constant tussles between pet owners and other residents, and leads to rise in animal cruelty cases.
On October 24, the four accused got hold of the sisters while they were on their way to feed the dogs. “After one of the dogs accidentally entered the society, we were mercilessly beaten up, our tops were torn, we were touched inappropriately, and got help from no one. The accused got support from another 20 people they called while we screamed for help,” said Kiran.
Officials from the Mumbai police said a first information report (FIR) was filed against Rustom Patel, his wife Rabia, and sons Riyaz and Arbaaz under sections 354 (molestation), 323 (physical assault) under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and other sections such as unlawful assembly, rioting and criminal intimidation.
“We arrested the four accused on Tuesday itself after investigating the case. They will be presented at the Borivli Magistrate Court on Friday for a bail-plea hearing. We will ensure no harm comes to the complainants,” said Uday Rajeshirke, senior police inspector, Kurar police station.
The sisters will be filing an affidavit in court highlighting the cruelty towards the pets allegedly carried out by the accused.
What the society members have to say
“We had only informed the sisters to ensure that whenever they feed the pups, they should not litter the area with the plastic they were using. Other than this, we had no problems. However, what happened is extremely unfortunate and we condemn the family’s actions,” said Baliraj Yadav, secretary of the society.
Animal activists speak
“The society should be supportive enough towards such people and take a stand against such acts of cruelty. Many women are even scared to speak up because of the external pressure,” said Nirali Koradia from NGO People for Animals (PFA).