New Delhi: A month after Central University Jamia Millia Islamia in New Delhi banned outsiders from feeding the dogs within the campus; the varsity issued a circular directing all the canteens owners to feed the stray animals.
The administration has instructed all the cafeterias present on campus to regularly feed the stray animals that live on the college grounds.
Two NGOs have been feeding and caring for 300 stray hounds that reside within Jamia Millia Islamia since the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jamia shuts all its 24 gates for NGOs
On November 18, the food trucks arriving from Friendicoes, an animal service, and Karan Puri Foundation were stopped from entering the Jamia campus without any prior notice. On inquiring into the matter, the NGOs found that the college Proctor and Vice-Chancellor had forbidden all outsiders from feeding the strays within the college.
“We’ve been seeking a response from the Vice Chancellor about this issue but to no avail,” said Divya Puri, co-founder of the Karan Puri Foundation, who has filed a complaint against the University with the Delhi Police.
After the lockdown was imposed, ex-students of Jamia and animal lovers from the vicinity reached out to these foundations to help feed these dogs within the campus, which are lovingly referred to as ‘bachhe’. Amongst themselves, the two NGOs have been feeding the strays twice a day and tending to their ailments.
VC's proposition meets criticism
As per the new rules, the Jamia canteens are to feed the canines. Mess food is not an option yet as hostels remain closed in many sections of the University. These changes came in after the college appointed the new Proctor, explained Shazia Urooj, an ex-student who lives next to the college campus.
“I remember digging up the ground to bury several dogs and cats who died the slow death of starvation. No one was bothered about these ‘bacche’ on campus,” said Shazia.
Shazia now drives down to the various gates of the University and honks. The dogs that recognise the sound of her car horn rush towards the gate to be fed. “The little ones, the injured ones, and the ones who are scared, never come up to the gate and starve within the campus,” Shazia said.
Though the canteens have vowed to feed dogs, animal lovers remain skeptical as the 254-acre campus does not have eateries positioned in all places, and dogs being territorial creatures will be unable to migrate to areas closer to food.
Animal Clubs not backed in Jamia Millia Islamia
Jamia’s own student-run animal welfare group, Desi Club, has not received any recognition from the administration. Students continue to smuggle in food and medicine and work individually without the aid of college management. “No one takes us seriously since the administration has not recognised our body. The work we are putting into this cause has no guidance or direction,” explained Preykha Pandey, a psychology student representing the Desi Club.
The 'bachhe' at Jamia are not as well-liked by everyone since the University reports several cases of animal hit and run throughout the year.
The dogs running and barking toward feeding trucks have been a major concern for many students and professors, who are scared of these four-legged residents. "Though there are many who might not condone what we do, Jamia is a huge campus and you will certainly find more people who find value in helping the helpless," Preyksha added.
FPJ tried to contact the Jamia Vice Chancellor Najma Akhtar and Proctor Janab Ateek, however, there was no response to the journalist’s repeated phone calls and messages. The story will be updated once the officials respond to the reporter’s queries.
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