Alert strays attract the ire of Maoists

Alert strays attract the ire of Maoists

Strays may be a headache for the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike and many corporations in the country. But stray dogs are taken care of well by the police in naxal-infested areas of Bihar and Jharkhand.  

What has a dog to do during a Maoist attack? A lot, if the animal lovers in this part of the cow-belt are to be believed. The barking of dogs could raise an alarm bell, thereby cautioning the police force of an impending attack by the armed guerrillas even in the interior parts.

Perhaps with this theory in mind, former Director General of Police Ashish Ranjan Sinha, during his tenure as Bihar DGP, had asked the police stations in the hinterland to feed and take care of stray dogs which keep roaming around such human habitations in the hope that once be-friended, man's best friend would make for an ideal watchdog, alerting police personnel when Maoists raid.

The move paid rich dividends in Bihar as well as neighbouring Jharkhand. There were several incidents in which the barking of dogs alerted the police personnel and thwarted the evil designs of the armed naxalites.

Station House officer of Parraiya police station in naxal-infested Gaya district, Arun Paswan, had a pack of strays on his campus. His logic was that inadequate number of policemen and poorly equipped firearms could not match the dare-devilry of CPI (Maoists) activists. Besides, the policemen were also hit by fatigue because they had work beyond their call of duty to ensure that the people were not affected. The naxalites not only carry sophisticated weapons but also have a very high motivation to carry out the strikes.
Arun's apprehension stemmed from the fact that one of his predecessors Suresh Paswan was killed by Maoists in the absence of poor intelligence inputs and equally poor infrastructure in June 2003.

So, Arun chose the second best option. He cultivated street dogs, which would alert him about any possible naxal attack.

But, of late, there has been a sharp drop in the number of dogs in the naxal-infested areas of Bihar. The reason being cited is that Maoists had issued a fatwa (directive) to the villagers sometime back directing them to poison the dogs inf their villages, lest  bark when they come visiting, thereby alerting the security forces to their shadowy presence.  
Against this backdrop, the India chapter of PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals),  has appealed to the Maoists to not kill dogs, strays or pets, as “dogs claim no nation, harbour no weapons, and hold no political aspirations.”

The appeal, made by senior campaign coordinator of PETA Nikunj Sharma, has asked naxalites to spare the lives of dogs in the areas they wish to venture. “Animals have no part in your battle and should not be made to suffer in the cross-fire,” the appeal said.

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