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Supreme Court says no to Culling of Stray Dogs across India

"Stray dogs have a right to live"

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Right to life of stray dogs
Dogs, Pixabay
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New Delhi, Jan 19, 2017:  Inequality is an issue that has grappled India, be it human beings or animals the unequal treatment is highly prevailing. To sort this out Supreme court came up with the verdict that “Stray dogs have a right to live”. This sharply came up today when a submission was made that such canines should be completely destroyed across the country.

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A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and R Banumathi have observed that though culling of stray dogs was permissible, there has to be a balance and a proper method for this. When one of the petitioners told the apex court that he wanted to “totally destroy” stray dogs across India, the bench said “nobody can destroy stray dogs in entirety”. They also have a right to live”. Concurring with the observations of apex court, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Pinky Anand said that stray dogs have a right to live and there has to be a balance.

There has been many petitions put forward to the apex court on issues relating to orders passed by various civic bodies on culling of stray dogs which have become a menace, especially in Kerala and Mumbai. The Kerala bench said during the hearing that there were issues of human concern but for this all stray dogs cannot be killed. “A person can die due to dog bite. It is an accident and for that, we cannot say kill all the stray dogs,” it said.

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The bench was also informed that a panel headed by former Kerala High Court judge Sri Jagan had received around 400 matters related to dog bites and it was working on it. The apex court had set up a panel to inquire into incidents where people and even children killed stray dogs and these acts were supported by several vigilante groups in Kerala.

A counsel told the bench, which listed the matter for further hearing on March 1 that “The panel has received around 400 applications out of which 24 have been settled. The committee is working on it”, mentioned PTI.

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When an advocate told the court that people have died due to dog bites in Kerala and children were unable to go to school due to this menace, the bench said, “just because there are some stray dogs in a field or a school, they cannot be killed”.

The court also said that “They (stray dogs) have to be taken to shelter homes ….if there is no way out, they have to be culled and not killed. But there has to be a method for it”. Reacting to the proposal one of the petitioners said he would construct shelter homes for dogs in his area in Kerala. However, the apex court asked him to submit a concrete proposal and prepare a road map.

prepared by Saptaparni Goon of NewsGram. Twitter: @saptaparni_goon

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‘Concept of equality’ pervades world’s biggest community kitchen

The Golden Temple complex itself gets millions of visitors from across the country and other parts of the world annually

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Bangla Sahib is one of the most famous place of worship of Sikhs in Delhi. Wikimedia Commons
Equality is important for the biggest community. Wikimedia Commons

If there is one big leveller for people, irrespective of their religion, caste, gender, social status or riches, it is the “langar”, or community kitchen, at the Golden Temple complex, where the holiest of Sikh shrines, the Harmandir Sahib, is located, in this city considered holy by Sikhs.

Referred to as the world’s largest community kitchen, the Sri Guru Ram Das Jee Langar Hall of the Golden Temple complex is unique in several aspects. On an average, it feeds over 100,000 people daily — from children to old people — from all religions, castes, regions, countries; and people from varied social, economic and political backgrounds.

“It is a 24×7 operation that carries on day and night all 365 days of the year. This has been going on for centuries, since the concept of langar was introduced by Guru Nanak Dev (the first Guru of the Sikh religion and its founder; born 1469) and propagated by other Gurus,” Wazir Singh, senior in-charge of the langar preparation, told IANS here.

Unlike other government organisations and institutions in India, there are no provisions for reservations based on caste or religion. Wikimedia commons
The Golden Temple complex provides food for many. Wikimedia Commons

At any given point of the day or night, the place is not only swarmed by devotees wanting to partake what is considered as blessed by service but by hundreds of volunteers who are ever-so-ready to be part of the voluntary cooking and serving process. The langar food is even sent thrice daily to the two Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC)-run hospitals in Amritsar, especially to a ward where treatment of mentally-ill patients and drug-addicts is being carried out. The SGPC is tasked with the management all Sikh shrines.

“We have over 500 volunteer employees. The sangat (community) also pitches in with great enthusiasm daily. People come from across Punjab on trucks and tractor-trolleys — even other states, different countries — to help in this massive exercise of making and serving food. Several local residents, including women, have been coming here for years. People take time out of their government and private jobs to serve here, irrespective of their religion or caste. We welcome everyone with love,” Wazir Singh, speaking in Punjabi, pointed out, even as he continued to issue instructions to staffers involved in cooking the langar.

The langar is all vegetarian — comprising mainly of dal (maa-chole ki dal), rice (slightly salted for taste), chapattis, achar (pickle) and a vegetable, along with something sweet (kheer or prasad). In the morning, the “chai langar” comprises of tea and rusk.

The devotees sit down on the matted floor inside the langar hall in rows. To manage the huge rush, the SGPC volunteers allow only a few hundred to enter the hall at one time. The whole operation is carried out in a meticulous manner as a daily routine.

Also Read: ‘Government chalked out 1984 anti-Sikh genocide’

“The whole exercise is quite enormous but it goes on, with the blessings of the almighty, seamlessly. The daily expense is around Rs 15 lakh. We use 100 quintals (100 kg) rice and up to 30 kg (each) of dal and vegetables daily. Over 100 LPG cylinders (domestic size) are used daily for the cooking along with hundreds of kilograms of firewood for the traditional cooking. Nearly 250 kg of ‘desi ghee’ (clarified butter) is used in the cooking. We have over three lakh steel plates. We can serve 10 lakh (one million) people in a day,” Gurpreet Singh, in-charge of the kitchen, told IANS. SGPC functionaries pointed out that 30,000-35,000 people from Amritsar and nearby areas are daily visitors to the shrine and partake langar thrice. Many of these are migrants from other states and poor people who cannot afford meals.

“Our doors are open for everyone without discrimination. We follow the concept of equality here,” said Amrit Pal Singh, a SGPC official at the Information Office. The chapattis, in the thousands, are made on eight chapatti-making machines and even by hand by women and men volunteers. The steel utensils (plates, glasses and spoons), used by devotees, also numbering in lakhs, are washed voluntarily by the devotees themselves or by volunteers.

“The shrine complex has such a spiritual attraction about it. The langar served here leaves you satisfied in many aspects. The whole experience touches your soul,” Ramesh Goyal, a devotee from Bathinda, said.

“I had always heard about this shrine. Today, what I experienced was heavenly. The langar service is unparalleled in any religion. They do it with so much devotion and humility despite such huge crowds. It is unimaginable,” Tariq Ahmed, who had come here with his family from Patna in Bihar, told IANS. Anup Singh, a young Sikh devotee from Amritsar, often accompanies his grandparents and parents to the shrine.

Sikh Community, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh
Children belonging to Sikh Community, Wikimedia Commons 

“I love to serve chapattis to the people having langar. It is a very satisfying and fulfilling experience,” he said. “The whole exercise is carried out selflessly. It is a big task but everything is carried out smoothly. We keep introducing changes depending on the needs of the devotees,” Roop Singh, Chief Secretary of the SGPC, told IANS.

The SGPC, known as the mini-parliament of Sikh religion, manages the Golden Temple complex and gurdwaras across Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. It has an annual budget of over Rs 1,100 crore, mostly from donations at the gurdwaras.

The Golden Temple complex itself gets millions of visitors from across the country and other parts of the world annually. The strong Sikh diaspora in other countries like United States, Britain and Canada actively contributes to the shrine and visits it whenever they can. IANS