By Naseer A Ganai
Recent announcements by two top officials of Srinagar district has set nearly one lakh city dogs in tizzy. The Commissioner, Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC), Dr. G.N Qasba, made an announcement saying he has succeeded in bringing down dog population by 42,051, a significant decrease from 91,000 to 48,949 dogs, in just around one year.
"The good news is that dog population has come down significantly following a number of measures, which include the animal birth control programme. Around 1,000 dogs have been sterilised so far at the state-of-art kennels. What has added to the significant decrease is improved sanitation condition and control on littering in Srinagar," Qasba has said.
In 2011, former Minister, Nasir Aslam Wani, had ordered counting of stray dogs in Srinagar and after three months of their population count, Aslam had put the number of stray dogs in Srinagar as over 91000.
Dr. Qasba’s announcement that seterlisation has reduced number of dogs has worried dog intellectuals.
In an official organ of stray dogs, Better Life, leading dog psychologist in his article expressed surprise over Dr. Qasba’s mathematical claim. “If the SMC continues talking about our population the way Mr. Qasba is talking these days, I will not be amused if after some months he names us as plants instead of dogs. I am personally shocked to the level mathematics has been reduced to by Dr. Qasba,” he wrote in his weekly column.
He said he was worried more about State of maths in Kashmir. “I wish someone should tell the Commissioner that sterilisation does not reduce number existing dogs. It only stops procreation and given the way surgeries are being conducted in the Valley that is remote possibility. If we were 91000 last year, we are still 91000 and more this year. By subjecting few meek ones of us to sterilisation, if someone thinks he has reduced our population to half, it is his wishful thinking. Dr. Qasba’s claim is proof of how hilarious things can go in Kashmir” he wrote.
The paper also carried serious of news reports about activities of dogs and new locations they are seen these days to point out that dog population is increasing. Better Life has carried a feature on life of around three hundred pups at Jawaharnagar area. The write up gives insight about colourful childhood of pups in the area.
Better Life has also carried a news report which states that the Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, Farooq Ahmad Shah, has constituted a committee on the issue of canine population. The paper said both the officials were doing their bit to get publicity and asked dogs not to be worried about their announcements.
But the two officials have divided dogs into two factions.
In a “general canine” meeting held at the SMHS hospital premises, serious differences cropped up between dogs. But timely intervention from a clever dog saved the situation. He motivated dogs to chase two cats, which entered into a hospital ward to save themselves. Ferocious howling outside the hospital building and the run of cats inside created panic among patients in the hospital. This way he stopped prospective fight among angry dogs.
In other localities like Jawaharnagar, Hyderpora bypass, Nowgam, Sanatnagar similar scenes were reported during the general canine meetings. The paper says that the division came to fore, when nine member executive meeting discussed the issue of drop in canine population.
Four members supported Dr. Qasba and other four, Farooq Ahmad Shah. However, a young female dog, which has recently joined executive council after death of one its member, did not support any faction. Instead she talked about creating a Welfare Canine State for dogs in Kashmir.
Dr. Qasba supporters argued that he is good officer, who speaks softly. They argue that they are safe in his hands. They argued that even though their number is increasing, which is visible everywhere, Dr Qasba, decreases them on files only. “It should not bother us as long as it is confined to files,” said an executive member. However, another objected to it and said that it is move to change demography of stray dogs. “He has decreased the number. His intentions are not right,” he apprehended.
Qasba loyalists rejected the assertion.
Shah loyalists also argued that he too will not harm canine population. “We will enjoy our fiefdom as we have been enjoying so far. We rule the street and he knows it. If he is forming a committee or two, we should be ok with it.”
Above all, his loyalists said, he has not decreased our number so far. However, the lone bitch, who didn't join any of the faction, exhorted both the faction to think about welfare of dogs.
“Keep your differences apart, Shah or Qasba doesn't matter in our larger scheme of things. Keep your loyalties aside and think of our interest, which are supreme. We have to set a target. In next 20 years we have to outgrow human population of Kashmir. They are already living a wretched life. Never ever in the history such a wretched life has been lived by any. They are rotten inside. We must take this opportunity to annihilate them forever. We have to increase our population. We have to change them in minority, not only in Srinagar but in the whole Valley. That should be our goal,” she said and others nodded their heads in agreement.
She said that the message should be passed to all canines to make Srinagar population feel that they are coming. Let you all raise your tails and say every dog and bitch should howl eight times when he sees a man, if woman, nine times and if child ten times, if educated Kashmiri, then only one time. They all raised their tails in support of the resolution.
“Children should fear dogs. Remember they are the generation we have to deal with in future. Bite them. At faces, at noses, at bottoms. Target them. You have only bitten 85000 in five years according to a recent report published by Greater Kashmir. The number is small. It has to grow,” she said and eight others again raised their tails.
“Tell your squads, who are now occupying every space that they should not howl at educated Kashmiris twice. One howl is sufficient for them,” she said and others laughed.
She laid a grand plan for increasing dog population for next twenty years. “You must keep these humans, who are living dehumized life, engaged in discourse like sterilisation and committees. And we must continue our work of procreation and biting, each dog should ensure highly quality food for our children and female dogs. You should remember food which Kashmiris take is not fit for us, it is sicking, you must look for other avenues,” she said and others nodded their heads.
The meeting was held at SMHS hospital premises. Nearly 200 dogs from nearby localities later cheered the members at Karnanagar chowk after they read out the procreation resolution.