Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Bitten, JNU blind students want dogs out

NEW DELHI: The problem of stray dogs on Jawaharlal Nehru University campus is growing from bad to worse. After several blind students were bitten by dogs, a group of such students took out a protest march on Monday and presented a memorandum to the vice-chancellor asking for an urgent solution to the problem.

Sudhanshu Shekhar from the Centre for Linguistics says that the group is asking for a complete removal of stray dogs from the campus. "In the past two years the number of strays has gone up manifold. Blind students use canes and the dogs get aggressive on seeing the sticks. While moving around on the campus such students often step on the dogs following which the animals bite them in retaliation. We organized a public debate on the issue recently, and several people have supported our cause," Shekhar said.

Vice-chancellor S K Sopory said the problem was genuine and that the authorities were looking at various options. "The dogs have been around on the campus for several years now, but the varsity authorities have not taken any step to check their numbers. We have now approached the MCD and are talking to other agencies for a solution. While taking up measures to check their population, we have to keep in mind the strong lobby of dog lovers in JNU. We do not want to harm the animals and will take everyone on board before taking a decision. Sterilization of dogs is one of the options. As a temporary measure we have earmarked certain areas where the stray dogs can be fed," he said.

Medical officials on the campus say that an average of 1-2 dog bite cases are reported each day. "There are several animal lovers on the campus, but the safety of students is also important. We do not want to harm the dogs. Human intervention in feeding them should be minimal, and they should not be permitted in areas of dense habitation," said another student.

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