Mumbai: Animal Activists Granted Anticipatory Bail, Accused Of Feeding Meat To Stray Dogs & Cats Outside Mahalaxmi Temple

Mumbai: Animal Activists Granted Anticipatory Bail, Accused Of Feeding Meat To Stray Dogs & Cats Outside Mahalaxmi Temple

As per the case registered with the Gamdevi police by Mahalaxmi-based activist Shila Shah, Belekar, who claimed to be an animal lover, came daily near Dhakleshwar temple with another animal lover and fed mutton, chicken and fish to strays.

Charul Shah JoshiUpdated: Wednesday, April 10, 2024, 12:19 AM IST
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Stray dogs | FPJ

Mumbai: The sessions court on Monday granted anticipatory bail to animal activist Pallavi Patil, 47, and her friend Nandini Belekar, 52, both booked for hurting religious sentiments for feeding meat to stray dogs and cats near Mahalaxmi Temple.

As per the case registered with the Gamdevi police by Mahalaxmi-based activist Shila Shah, Belekar, who claimed to be an animal lover, came daily near Dhakleshwar temple with another animal lover and fed mutton, chicken and fish to strays. Shah said devotees come to pray at the Mahalaxmi temple and pass through Dhakleshwar temple.

Shah claimed that the residents of the area requested Belekar to not throw pieces of meat to dogs and cats but feed them at one place but she did not listen and continued to do so with the “intent to outrage the religious feelings of Hindu persons”.

Shah said that the residents had complained to the BMC, following which Belekar was given a fixed place near a public school and fixed timing after 10pm to feed the animals, with the condition that she can only offer solid food and not non-vegetarian food.

When the residents, including Shah, objected, Belekar made a video call to Patil, who not only abused Shah but also encouraged Belekar to continue feeding meat to the strays.

Belekar and Patil claimed to be devoted Hindus and said they have been feeding strays in the place demarcated by the BMC near Ghetto Bar and Shobha Hotel for the past seven to eight years. They alleged that the informant was pressuring them by using the name of a local MLA. The two claimed they had also complained against Shah with the local police station but no case was registered.

The prosecution on the other hand claimed that the two accused had been intentionally feeding animals near a place of worship with the intent to outrage the feelings of Hindu persons.

While granting anticipatory bail, the court observed that “it seems that the accused are animal lovers”. It added, “There are previous four non-cognisable cases and a cognisable one pending against the accused but the mere fact of pending cases does not mean that they are habitual offenders.”

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