'Get Rid of Stray Dogs, It's Not AFSPA,' Says Jammu and Kashmir Lawmaker; Introduces Bill to Curb Canine Menace

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26,000 people, mostly children, have been bitten by dogs in the last one year in Jammu and Kashmir.


Srinagar: 

A private member's bill aiming to curb the stay dog menace in Jammu and Kashmir has been introduced in the state Assembly on Tuesday.

"Get rid of stray dogs, it's not AFSPA," said independent lawmaker Engineer Rashid who introduced the bill titled 'Jammu and Kashmir Curbing the menace of stray dogs bill, 2015.'

The bill, which will be put to vote only in the next assembly session, empowers local authorities to sanction killing of the canines in "extreme situation."

The bill also has a provision to pay compensation to the "victims of dogs".

"Rs 5 Lakhs or Rs 1 Lakh as the case may be given to the person who gets disabled or is partially disabled by an injury caused by a stray dog," said Mr Rashid.

Making a case for his bill, Mr Rashid even asked Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh to walk with him on the streets of Srinagar for 10 minutes. "I assure you that you will not have any threats from police, security forces or militants, but only stray dogs," said Mr Rashid.

Several lawmakers, cutting across party lines have supported the bill, including Jammu and Kashmir Assembly Speaker Kavinder Gupta.

"I think Engineer Rashid's issue is genuine as many people have been affected by this and there is wrong in taking up this bill," said Mr Gupta.

Officials admit that dog attacks are becoming a major public health issue. "On an average there are about 2100 cases every months across Kashmir valley" said Dr Saleem Rehman, Director Health Services Kashmir.

As per the official figures, 26,000 people - mostly children - have been bitten by dogs in the last one year. A government survey pegs the number of stray dogs in Srinagar city alone to fifty thousand.

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