Friday, 6 January 2012

HC comes to activists’ rescue

Bombay High Court orders police to provide protection and assistance to animal lovers fighting for Jeevraksha and Lila Parulekar 

Members of the Jeevraksha Animal Welfare Trust were accorded some relief on Wednesday as the Bombay High Court directed Commissioner of Police Meeran Borwankar to provide protection and all necessary assistance to the activists and Animal Welfare Officers who have been fighting to preserve the shelter and its inhabitants. 


In September, 2011 Pronoti Vyas, an animal rights activist from Satara, had moved the HC to get justice for sole surviving trustee Lila Parulekar and the animals she has rescued. Reports have shown that Parulekar is living in pitifully unhygienic conditions, with nearly 200 sick and infected dogs roaming freely around the house. As per the petition, some of the activists had also noticed the bodies of dogs being dumped in an abandoned factory. 


Vyas also alleged that Parulekar’s property had been taken over by a trustee of Sakal Papers Ltd. A committee was formed and an inquiry was conducted as per the HC’s orders. The committee, headed by animal rights officer Supriya Bose had submitted a report, stating that the shelter was in complete disarray and the animals were being neglected. 


Following this, Maneka Gandhi personally intervened and asked that her NGO, People for Animals, be allowed to take responsibility for the animals. On December 2, 2011, the court ordered Gandhi and her NGO to take charge of the animals. However, this order was allegedly ignored by the respondents, which include Sakal Papers, the animal welfare board, advocate Sunil Kadam and others. According to activists, they refused to acknowledge the order altogether. 


The activists then approached the police and were ‘advised’ them to keep out of the matter. They even approached the Commissioner Borwankar, but to no avail. On Wednesday, when the application came before the Chief Justice, it was clear that the court’s orders had been blatantly violated, that employees of Sakal Papers and Sunil Kadam were involved in obstructing the order and the police too had failed to help. 


Jeetesh Jotwani, founder, Jeevaraksha said, “Since November 2010, the animals have been neglected. This order should pave the path for their proper care and restoration of the shelter to its previous standards.”     


Manoj Oswal, volunteer and animal welfare officer said, “I am happy for the animals and I expect help from the police as well.” When contacted, Police Commissioner Meeran Borwankar said, “The HC order hasn’t reached me yet, but once it does, we are ready to cooperate.” 

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