My name is Samreen Khan. I live in Hyderabad. On May 2, I moved into my newly rented house in Peddamberpet. I am an animal rights activist and my work is centred on the welfare and protection of stray dogs. At the moment I have seven pups and 11 dogs in my house. They are all vaccinated and registered with the Animal Welfare Board of India. For the past week or so, villagers of this area have been gathering around my house and threatening to kill my dogs. I informed my landlord, Ramchandra Reddy, about the situation, and requested him to speak to the villagers. But he ignored my requests, and gave me, what appears to be, faux assurances that nothing will happen.
If this wasn’t enough, my milkman, Madhav Reddy, who hates dogs, has been abusive to me. The man drinks a lot and has tried to block my way by refusing to let go off the handle of my Scooty. The day before yesterday when I had stepped out of my house to buy water he stopped his bike in front of my Scooty and started forcing me into giving him my number. It was 7.30 p.m. and was beginning to get dark. I somehow managed to wriggle myself out of the situation but it didn’t end there. After 10 minutes of the incident, I found him standing outside my gate staring intently and making violent gestures. When he got no response from me he peed on my gate and left.
Yesterday morning, he came with one of his male friends and tried to enter my house forcefully. They were holding big logs of wood in their hands and were banging on my gate with them. They also beat up one of my 2-month-old pups with the logs. My pup is badly injured right now. To save the dog I had to step out of the house. After putting the pups inside the gate, as I tried stopping him from entering the premises, he touched my breasts. Then he put a forceful hand on my shoulder in an attempt to intimidate me. When I called the police a patrolling van came, but instead of arresting this man they asked me to file a complaint at the Hayathnagar police station. The behaviour of the Hayathnagar police was disgusting. It won’t be wrong to call them stooges of the local politicians. They made me wait for two hours and still did not file my complaint. The seriousness of the incident was lost on them.
When I tried talking to senior inspector Raju, I was asked to brush my teeth and stay outside of his office. After two hours, the police finally started listening to my complaint but they weren’t sympathetic towards my cause. Stray dogs shouldn’t exist at all, seemed to be their belief. They told me they’d visit my house, see the dogs, and only then will the complaint be filed. No action was taken against Madhav Reddy.
On the way to my house, the police called the counsellor of the Peddamberpet area, V Krishna Reddy—a very abusive, and insulting man. After entering my house, he started clicking pictures of me and my house, without my permission. He abused me and said things like all stray dogs should be killed, they are filthy and dangerous. I was threatened for saving stray dogs and the harassment continued for a duration of 22 minutes, with V Krishna Reddy, two police officers, and nine other men standing in my house, forcefully. I was told that the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) will be asked to kill all my dogs. He said he will file a false complaint that my dogs have bitten a man and then the GHMC will kill all of them.
After struggling for seven hours the police finally registered the complaint against Madhav Reddy, the milkman, for causing injury to me and my dogs and for abusing me, but the police, rather bluntly, refused to register any complaint against V. Krishna Reddy, stating his leadership position as the reason.
I stay alone and I have been an animal welfare activist for the past 11 years. Volunteering for the cause of animal rights is my choice. Stray dogs have the right to existence and quality life and there are laws against animal cruelty. So why was my complaint not taken seriously? Why was I subjected to humiliation? Just because he is a politician, he is allowed to abuse women, kill all the stray dogs? This is a heinous crime. So much has happened in the past few days and the police still haven’t taken any action. Last night I saw 14 men roaming around my house. I had to lock myself in the kitchen with all my dogs to save my life. I need protection, and demand that immediate action is taken against V Krishna Reddy and Madhav Reddy. This violation of rights, the abuse and harassment need to be stopped, lest they kill all my dogs.
Editor’s Note: Youth Ki Awaaz got in touch with inspector Narender of the Hayathnagar Police Station. He said that V Krishna Reddy is a local leader and had gone there to settle the issue between Samreen and the locals. According to the inspector, an FIR has been registered against Madhav Reddy, since his name was mentioned in the complaint. However, an FIR against V Krishna Reddy has not been filed yet since Samreen had not mentioned his name in the complaint. Samreen claims that she had initially mentioned V Krishna Reddy’s name in the complaint, however, the police refused to take it till she removed V Krishna Reddy’s name from it.