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No Fear No Favour

Delhi’s rag-picker who sheltered stray dogs ‘razed’ by MCD officials

Dogs are a man’s best friends, they say. But unfortunately, street dogs don’t always get the kind of care and attention they deserve. But one lady has relentlessly taken care of stray dogs all her life. Pratima Devi, a 65-year-old rag picker takes care of around 400 stray dogs in South Delhi’s plush locality Saket.

Pratima Devi was taken aback on Monday night when MCD officials and the Delhi police asked her to vacate her make-shift dog shelter and threatened to run vehicles over her and her dogs if she refused to do so, ANI reported.

The Delhi High Court, in its recent order had noted that feeding or sheltering stray dogs in the common area of a private property can cause a nuisance. It had warned the residents of South Delhi to ensure that the canines do not cause fear of discomfort to others.

The order came in the backdrop of a January order of the Supreme Court which categorically said: “stray dogs have a right to live.” During that hearing, the apex court had reacted sharply when a submission was made that such canines should be completely eliminated across the country. The apex court has been hearing a batch of petitions on issues relating to orders passed by various civic bodies on the culling of stray dogs, especially in Kerala and Mumbai.

 Despite being an ordinary ragpicker with limited means, Pratima Devi is known as the ‘Dog Lady’ or Amma among those who know her or have seen her around the PVR Complex in Saket. She not only feeds them twice a day but also nurses them and makes sure that they are properly vaccinated.

Pratima, said, “The MCD officials came along with police and threatened to run over a vehicle over her and the dogs if she doesn’t vacant the place.”

“They even threw the dogs’ food, said pained Pratima Devi, the “Dog lady of Delhi”.

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