Complaint filed against three people—including mayor—for killing dogs in DiktelThe Nepal Veterinary Association and animal rights activists filed the complaint at the Khotang District Police Office on Tuesday.
A complaint was filed on Tuesday against three officials of Diktel Rupakot Majhuwagadhi municipality, including mayor Dip Narayan Rijal, for brutally killing street dogs a couple of days ago.
The savage killings of street dogs came into light after a video of two officials mercilessly beating a stray dog at Tribeni chowk in Diktel went viral on social media.
Among the accused are Khemraj Acharya, 45, a resident of Ward No 1 of the same municipality, and a 44-year-old man who has been identified with only his last name Shrestha, according to police. Shrestha is from Bhojpur and lives in the mayor’s house.
Bajindra Bista, a resident of Jantedhunga local municipality and the one who took the video of the incident, Suman Kumar Shrestha, an animal technician from Sneha's Care, and Sitaram Yadav, a veterinarian belonging to the Nepal Veterinary Association, jointly filed the police complaint.
"Acharya and Shrestha, on Rijal’s orders, beat domestic as well as stray dogs with the intent to kill, with wooden planks and then tied them with a rope and left them at Tribeni chowk and Bhanu Chowk on August 31. They also poisoned around 200 dogs and beat them unconscious before burying them alive," reads the complaint.
According to Clause 290 of the new Criminal Code, the municipality’s monstrous killing of dogs, in the name of controlling the stray animal population, is against the law and those accused are liable for punishment, said the complaint.
The complaint was submitted to Inspector Amod Kumar Kherwar, acting chief of the Khotang District Police Office, who said he had little knowledge of the video that went viral.
“I had heard about the video but I have not watched it yet,” Kherwar had told the Post on September 1. “When I talked to the mayor, he said the ‘boys’ did not carry out the work in a decent way. He told me that he has warned the persons involved in the incident.”
Kherwar had earlier said that the matter had not reached the police and that an investigation into the matter hadn’t begun.
Mayor Rijal, however, said that the municipality’s actions were not unlawful. "We were only trying to dispose of dead dogs that were either poisoned by locals or died of cholera," said Rijal. This statement contradicts an earlier one he had made to the Post where he had said that “officials had been told to kill stray and disease-infected dogs by poisoning them. Some officials had acted cruelly and that the matter is being investigated.”
A team from Sneha's Care, an animal shelter, and the Nepal Veterinary Association had reached Diktel on September 1 to assess the situation and provide treatment to dogs that had survived the incident but came under threat from locals, said Sneha Shrestha of Sneha’s Care.
“Our team was returning to Kathmandu on Tuesday when some people obstructed our way in Maure, about 15 kms from Diktel, in protest of our intervention in the case,” she said.
The team was then taken back to Diktel under police protection.
“We got a call from the Assistant Chief District Officer about the team being stopped from going to Kathmandu. We reached Maure and took the team to Nunthala station and then to Diktel,” said Kherwar.
According to Clause 290 of the Criminal Code, with an exception for training or improving their physical capacity, anyone found guilty of behaving cruelly with birds or animals is liable to three months in jail or a fine of Rs 5,000, or both.
Similarly, Clause 291 states that, in exception of religious purposes, anyone found guilty of killing birds and animals in public places is liable to a one-month jail term or a fine of Rs 5,000, or both.