It is a modern-day ‘David and Goliath' story. Retired Government employee and Indian Institute of Jeevakarunyam and Research chairman M. Venkateswarlu is David and the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation is, of course, the Philistine giant.
Vijayawada Municipal Corporation staff catches stray dogs for sterilisation, but are left in the steel-bodied vehicle in scorching heat in the sun. Venkateswarlu fights for the rights of these animals, who do not have friends in the Corporation. For a week now he has been pestering the authorities to save the stray dogs from hostile conditions.
A couple of days ago the VMC men tried to stop him from taking a video of the vehicle in which the dogs were left in the scorching midday sun. “The heated vehicle turns into a furnace. The dogs are kept in the sun without food or water. This is a violation of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act,” Mr. Venkateswarlu points out.
Having failed to evoke any response from the VMC, he wants to take the fight to the next level by sitting in the hot sun bare bodied in front of the vehicle depot on the hot concrete road from Noon on Thursday. The animal lover recently went on indefinite fast demanding the VMC initiative to stop the poisoning of stray dogs. Municipal Commissioner G. Ravi Babu assured him that the killing would be stopped.
In the past former Municipal Commissioner Natarajan Gulzar had to oblige when Maneka Gandhi called him on behalf of Mr. Venkateswarlu. The laws of the land were his favour, but Mr Venkateswarlu was waging a lone battle against the behemoth of bureaucracy and public opinion. He is very unpopular in residential colonies plagued by the street dog menace.
M. Venkateswarlu, chairman of the Indian Institute of Jeevakarunyam and Research, has, for a week, been pestering the authorities to save stray dogs from hostile conditions