The last few days have seen alarming reports about culling of street animals in Kerala. “Apolitical” groups have launched a #BoycottKerala campaign. However, not everything seems to be as it appears.
Street dog attacks on children
The whole thing apparently started with increasing attacks on children (real or perceived) when 2 children 3-4 year old where brutally attacked and their faces disfigured by violent dogs and later a small girl was killed by stray dogs. In 2014-15 over a lakh dog bites were reported (this sounds pretty serious or exaggerated – merits concern in any case). An all party meeting chaired by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy to address this issue included four cabinet ministers, top officials from the animal husbandry department, district administrators and heads of local bodies.
In this meeting, it was agreed that the government was within its rights to cull rabid or violent dogs if other measures failed. Immediate actions to start an Animal Birth Control programme were announced. An update on the Chief Minister’s official site confirms this as well. Misinterpreting this as an order to Kill all dogs in streets AWBI started initiating protest actions against state of Kerala. Or perhaps it was a deliberate misrepresentation inspired by China’s mass culling that saw tens of thousands of animals butchered brutally.
Happy to target the Kerala government, the BJP IT CELL waded into the mess with its usual throng of wholesale trolls and the #BoycottKerala campaign reached new lows, including their signature technique of creating “proofs” to convince people of their accusations by presenting images taken randomly off the internet as the crimes they oppose.
Basic common sense makes it evident that it does not make sense to spend time and money on a large scale sterilization programme, if the government intends to kill the strays – which would be done in far less time. Clearly, it doesn’t.
A post by Roshan Thomas on Facebook, provides an overall explanation as follows:
The organisers of hate campaign against Kerala are adamant about the protests they have planned in various cities across the globe. Here are a few interesting facts bout the organisers and the information they propagate:
- They claim that the boycott kerala campaign is against Kerala Govt’s decision for mass culling of stray dogs following the all party meeting.While the truth is that Kerala Government hasn’t agreed for mass culling of stray dogs. The decision is to go for Animal Birth Control (ABC) measures.
- Kamna Pandey, who is one of the organisers of the hate Kerala campaign is also a member of Animal Welfare Board of India. The pictures which Kamna uploaded in facebook as a part of the campaign initiated the fury and the call for boycott kerala.From a simple Google Image Search, it is evident that most of those images aren’t from Kerala. Some are even from Nigeria & the United States. That raises the ethical question: Are members of a governmental organisation allowed to spread hatred by propagating lies intentionally?
- Some of the organisers of the event, proudly displays ‘BJP Social Media Cell’ tag on their facebook profile. The racial hatred spilled by the set of people were enormous. Soon after I published a status update on the same a couple of my friends informed me that they have brought the same to the attention of Kerala BJP leadership.The silence of BJP Kerala faction is highly condemnable and raises so many questions on their allegiance. Who are you with? The North Indian tourism lobby which spills hatred or the people of Kerala? ( It is to be noted that pages approved by BJP social media cell are hyper active today in defending Union Agriculture Minister’s statement but doesn’t seem to have any idea about the racial hatred induced by their North Indian counterparts.)
- The event pages and people behind the hate campaign are consistently endorsing Goan & Srilankan tourism. That alone gives a clear idea on the intentions.
In other words, it is yet another invented outrage. Move on.
With inputs from Sharath Sathisan