Where was self-proclaimed animal rights activist Maneka Gandhi when the news of 16 puppies being murdered inside the premises of Nil Ratan Sircar (NRS) Medical College & Hospital in Kolkata made the headlines?

Even as Twitter is abuzz condemning the brutal incident reported on January 13, Maneka Gandhi, who founded People for Animals (PFA) in 1992, is yet to make any statement. The incident was also caught on camera. 

According to a Times of India article, Gandhi's office has called up the principal of NRS Medical College & Hospital to demand strict action against two nursing students arrested by Kolkata Police. But is a mere phone call to the college principal asking for strict action enough?

Well, that is the first step, but she should also use the reach of social media to spread the message of stopping cruelty against animals.

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Maneka Gandhi pats a camel during a visit to the Ashari home for destitute and sick animals in Calcutta in 2004.DESHAKALYAN CHOWDHURY/AFP/Getty Image

Maneka Gandhi has never missed an opportunity to stand up against animal abuse and cruelty against animals. She has led many protests against barbaric sterilisation of stray animals, clipping their tails and ears, and illegal smuggling of cattle from Nepal. But where was she when the puppies were being beaten to death and their carcass was being thrown in garbage bags?

Earlier, Maneka Gandhi's involvement with regard to animal had reached such an extent that the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) wrote to the Narendra Modi government to ask her to stop 'continuous interference' in their affairs. So, why was hasn't she appeared on any news channel advocating for justice of the puppies? Why is she yet to tweet about it?

Even social media users have questioned her silence on this issue and demanded her to take a serious approach.

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The Maneka Gandhi Column

In an article for The Maneka Gandhi column for FirstPost in 2016, the veteran animal welfare activist had spoken about animal cruelty and how the police should take the matter more seriously.

She said that some punishable crimes against animals should include raping, locking them in houses for a long time, beating them up, putting puppies or kittens in bags and throwing them away.

Cruelty against animals in the IPC?

According to the Indian Penal Code, killing, maiming,  poisoning, or torturing an animal is an offence and the accused would be charged under sections 428 and 429. The punishment for the crime is either a fine or a two-year prison sentence and in some cases, both.

So, was Maneka Gandhi's interest in animal rights activism just a political act? Will she speak up?