Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, numerous incidents of cruelty against animals have come to light which has enraged many and made one ponder as to whether the laws in existence are sufficient enough to the protect the canines.
In a similar incident of cruelty, a stray dog residing inside the Imperial Heights building complex in Goregaon was run over by car earlier this week. CCTV footage of the incident divulged that the car belonged to film producer Shaailesh Singh and was driven by his driver.
This has led to the animal rights activists as well as residents of the housing society demand justice for the dog and call for strict action against the culprit.
Humans losing patience
The incident occurred in the wee hours of January 18 when Singh's driver hit the female dog, named Motu, which resided inside his residential building.
The CCTV footage showed that the vehicle dragged the dog a few feet before stopping. The night watchman, who also present at the site and witnessed the tragic incident, informed the residents that the dog was "injured but alive".
A first-hand information report has been lodged against the driver of the car under IPC sections 279 and 429 at the Goregaon police station.
Bhavna Soni, a resident of the building, told The Times of India, "He (Watchman) called up Singh so that the dog could be taken for treatment,".
"The producer first told the watchman to do something about the injured dog, but later asked his driver to take Motu in a car. The watchman assumed that the dog was being taken for treatment. However, in the morning we were all shocked to learn that the producer's driver had dumped the dog somewhere in Lokhandwala backroad area presuming it was dead. We don't even know if Motu was actually taken to any hospital, or was simply dumped somewhere alive or dead. So, we want to know where Motu or its body is," she added.
Soni's elder sister, Usha Soni had lodged the complaint in this case.
The demand for proper post-mortem
It was also said that the driver later came to take the dog who was still "alive then" saying he was willing to take her to the hospital. He picked her up and went away, while some say he did not even bother to take her to the hospital and rather dumped the body somewhere near Lokhandwala on the way.
When he was called repeatedly over the phone, residents said he refused to answer any of them.
As the footage of the incident started going viral on social media, with more and more people sharing it, the animal rights activists urged the police to retrieve the body of the dog as well as to conduct a proper post-mortem.
On Thursday afternoon, several animal lovers also gathered within the premise of the residential complex, silently displaying photos of Motu and with a poster stating 'Justice for Motu', in order to press for their demands.
Meanwhile, the police are also delaying in taking action in the matter. It's been days since the FIR was lodged but no arrests have been made so far.
Producer says 'It's not my fault'
Amid the escalating controversy, Shaailesh Singh, who has produced many Bollywood hit films, including Tanu Weds Manu, tried to brush away the incident beneath the carpet, stressing that the allegations made against him by the animal lovers are "wrong and baseless".
"I have already replied to various news media that no wrongdoing was done by me. I am cooperating with the police in the dog death case. It is wrong for the animal lovers to say that the dog was dumped alive; because the animal had already died. The nightwatchman can also be contacted in this regard," he told TOI.
Activists, along with the residents of the complex have said that even if the dog had died following the accident, they should at least get her body back.
"Since the January 18 incident, we are observing a few contradictory statements and versions in this matter, hence we want the police to fully investigate," Soni said.
It should be noted that this is not the first case where an animal was intentionally subjected to assault or torture by human beings. In the past as well, there have been several instances of animal cruelty that have surfaced from different parts of the country but still overlooked by authorities.
Last year, a dog, named Lucky, was beaten to death in Mumbai after it took shelter in a similar residential building during a heavy downpour. There are several laws in the country which prevents such cruelty against animals but it's a lack of strictness on the part of authorities who fail to take appropriate action on time. Protection and wellbeing of animals and that of humankind should be measured on the same pedestal and in any circumstances of violation proper punishment should be imposed.