Two days after Union minister for women and child development Maneka Gandhi’s alleged threatening call, the Endangered Wildlife Society, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) has put the stray dog sterilisation drive on hold in Patiala.
Maneka had pointed out anomalies in dog sterilisation drive being carried out by the municipal corporation and district administration. The drive which started 23 days ago, invited the minister’s ire as she alleged it was being conducted in a haphazard manner.
MINISTER CALLS OFFICIALS
Maneka called Patiala divisional commissioner AS Pannu, deputy commissioner (DC) Varun Roojam and senior superintendent of police Gurmeet Singh Chauhan and asked them to take action against the NGO for violating dog sterilisation norms.
The minister courted controversy after a veterinary doctor Dr Imran Ali, who is engaged in the dog sterilisation drive, filed a written complaint with mayor Amarinder Bajaj against her for allegedly threatening and using abusive language, besides asking him to go to Pakistan. NGO president Sukhwinder Singh also filed the same complaint against Maneka.
ADMINISTRATION ON TOES
The call from the union minister put officials of the district administration on their toes on Friday. The deputy commissioner called an urgent meeting which was attended by Patiala mayor Amarinder Bajaj, SDM Gurpal Singh Chahal and office-bearers of the NGO. Bajaj said he had taken up the NGO and doctor’s complaint with deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal. He had also been apprised of Maneka’s call to the officials and the NGO. “The deputy CM has assured us of resolving the issue,” he said.
Meanwhile, the NGO informed the district administration officials that it would not be possible for it to continue with the sterilisation drive after the alleged threatening call. “How can we work? The district administration assigned us the task of dog sterilisation after checking our credentials. We have filed a complaint with the mayor as the MC had allocated the work to us,” said Dr Imran.
“It is up to the NGO to continue or abandon the work. But we have launched the dog sterilisation drive for the people’s welfare. We will ensure that the drive is completed even if we have to appoint another NGO,” said Bajaj. The DC, however, said he was yet to receive a complaint from Bajaj.
DID MINISTER VIOLATE PROTOCOL
As per the protocol, a Union minister usually contacts deputy commissioners and other district-level officials either through the chief secretary or the chief minister, but Maneka opted to call divisional commissioner, deputy commissioner and senior superintendent of police directly. Since the district administration is a state subject, the Union minister has to adopt a proper channel to issue instructions.
Don’t give it communal colour: Maneka
Patiala: Admitting that she called officials of the NGO and the district administration, Maneka refuted the allegations that she threatened or abused the veterinarian.
“People are trying to give it a political and communal colour. I have not threatened or abused the veterinarian,” said Maneka, who is also the patron of the People for Animals organisation.
“Many Muslims are working in my organisation and several Sikhs are in my ministry. I can never pass such communal comments,” she added.
The minister said she called both NGO chief Sukhwinder and veterinary doctor Imran and asked them to stop the sterilisation drive since they were not trained and recognised by Animal Welfare Board of India.
She also wrote a letter to divisional commissioner AS Pannu in which she had blamed the district administration of giving illegal contract to the NGO to catch and sterilise 5,000 dogs in Patiala.
“The NGO has given a fake address of Uttarakhand. The veterinarian is not a surgeon and cannot sterilise dogs. The dogs are thrown on the streets after sterilisation with gaping wounds,” she said.
She also alleged that the NGO was operating upon dogs without anaesthesia and antibiotics and was using inferior stitches to save money.