Published: 05th February 2021
IIT Madras has a history of ill-treating animals: Activist who filed PIL in Madras HC against them for confining stray dogs
Responding to a PIL by Arun Prasanna, the founder of People For Cattle in India (PFCI), the Madras HC has now asked the Greater Chennai Corporation to solve the issue in a 'dignified' manner
With IIT Madras asking the National Green Tribunal to treat their campus as a national park, the animal activists in Chennai are worried about what could happen to the stray dogs on campus. A lot of them, including current and former students of the institute, allege that since October 2020, most of the stray dogs on campus have been confined inside a 'huge' makeshift cage for sterilisation and haven't been released since. While this does sound borderline absurd, especially given the assurances from the institute, the activists confess that they are still a worried lot.
However, responding to a PIL by Arun Prasanna, the founder of People For Cattle in India (PFCI), the Madras High Court has now asked the Greater Chennai Corporation to solve the issue in a 'dignified' manner. Prasanna claims that the institute's latest argument is merely an attempt to dispose of the entire stray population.
"The IIT Madras administration has a history of ill-treating animals," says Prasanna, who had also written to the Animal Welfare Board of India, accusing the institute of caging the dogs without proper food and other facilities. "The Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001 does not envisage any such cruel treatment of dogs for the purpose of sterilising them. Thus, the management of IIT Madras is illegal and in direct contravention of the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules," reads his petition.
It also says that the students are prohibited from going near the facility to inspect the condition of the dogs. Previously, a few students who EdexLive spoke to had also made similar allegations. In his affidavit in the Madras HC too, Arun had stated similar claims. He also says that he was prevented from visiting the campus to look at the sterilisation facility.
READ ALSO: To clear the strays from campus, IIT Madras wants to be considered protected area, writes to NGT
But why such a hallaballoo in the first place? "The strays are important to maintain a proper ecosystem. They keep a check on robbers and help to solve the rodent issue," says Arun. The IIT Madras administration had said in their letter to the NGT that the strays are responsible for killing the deer on campus. Arun, on the other hand, rubbishes the claim. "Dogs do not hunt in packs. They only feed on the carcass and do not kill the deer. The wildlife is dying due to the institute's waste management problem and constructions on campus," he says.
Incidentally, there has been a lot of discussion over IIT's recent submission to the NGT to be treated as an extension of the Guindy National Park — a move that will ostensibly allow them to deal with their stray dog problem. This is a bit contradictory, though, as reports in the media suggest that IIT-M Director Bhaskar Ramamurthi has, in 2014 filed an affidavit with the NGT saying that the IIT isn't situated on forest land.
We had reached out to the IIT Madras administration with regard to their issue with stray dogs. We will update the copy when they respond