There was a time when Bengalis were known to be soft-hearted animal lovers but those days are now long gone. Almost every day I read some or the other animal torture nonsense coming from West Bengal and Kolkatta. There are hardly any sterilisation or care going on there. All they seem to be interested in is basking in past glory of the ones who were actually great but they also cared about animals and taking part in crappy politics.
Joka: An elderly woman has accused a neighbour of deliberately running over a stray in Joka and threatening her and her husband after she filed a police complaint.
The trouble began after Jillian Nagra, 59, adopted eight street dogs over the past five years. Her neighbours at a residential complex in Joka would often abuse the dogs, she alleged. When Jillian protested, the neighbours allegedly directed their ire at her.
Jillian, an Indian of Jewish origin, woke up to frantic calls from her gardener early on December 3 morning. The gardener told her that one of her adopted dogs, Heera, had been run over by a neighbour who was allegedly drunk the night before. Jillian found the dog lying in a pool of blood in the middle of the road with alcohol bottles strewn around. Jillian took Heera to hospital and filed a general diary at Thakurpukur police station, followed by an FIR the next day. The FIR names Jillian's neighbour, Giridhari Damani, as the accused.
An officer of the police station confirmed that an FIR had been filed under Section 429 (maiming an animal). "I visited the area and investigation is on," he said.
The police allegedly asked the accused to pay for the dog's treatment and future care but he refused. "Instead, he offered me Rs 15,000 to withdraw the FIR," said Jillian, who refused. "I wanted him to be more responsible and be a part of Heera's treatment and painful journey," she said.
Some neighbours have since been threatening Jillian and her husband and even made lewd gestures at her, she alleged. "We have been living in fear. I feel helpless. I have an ailing husband at home," she said.
It is not the first time that Jillian and her husband Kamal Manmohan Singh Nagra, 84, a retired commander of Calcutta Port Trust, have filed an FIR against their neighbours.
In 2015, one of Jillian's dogs was allegedly drowned and two more maimed when she was away in Israel. "I would feed the dogs and look after their medical needs. I would also clean up their mess after them, yet the neighbours complained and tortured them when I was not around," said Jillian. "My daughter ran from pillar to post to save them."
When Jillian filed an FIR on her return, the neighbours allegedly threatened her with a sickle. She then approached Maneka Gandhi's NGO, People for Animals, for help. "Since Maneka Gandhi's personal intervention, most neighbours quietened down," Jillian said.
As Heera fights for his life with internal bleeding continuing, Jillian refuses to give up her fight. "I won't take money till they become more humane and responsible."
Last week, a college student from Garfa accused a neighbour of injuring a stray and abusing her for protesting.