LUCKNOW: It’s a horrible situation emerging in Khairabad, 80km from Lucknow, in Sitapur district, where a bunch of stray dogs have turned man-eaters attacking and mauling children. It was on Tuesday morning that three children, below 12-years of age, were found killed in nearby fields of their village as they had gone to attend nature’s call.
Shamli Nath, 11, of Tikari village, was attacked by the stray dogs in the fields on early Tuesday morning closely followed by Khalid Ali, 12, of neighbouring Gurpalia village when he had gone out to collect raw mangoes from his father’s orchard in the morning.
Kahlid was also attacked and mauled by stray dogs.
After finding two children mauled and killed, another similar incident came up in adjoining Kolia village, wherein an 8-year-old girl Komal was found dead as her body was spotted in a mango orchard. She was also attacked by the stray dogs.
While the local administration claimed that around nine such deaths were reported in Khairabad this year, the local villagers put the figure at 14.
Ayub Khan of Gurpalia village had lost a young one to dogs in March. “Initially we thought it to be the handiwork of some wild animal such as tiger or leopard, but after realising that dogs were mauling our children, we have stopped our children from venturing out alone in the village,” says Khan adding that the villagers guard villages with lathis turn wise.
In March, six-year-old Mobin was killed in Gurpalia by stray dogs. But the local villagers neither informed the police nor did the post-mortem examination take place.
"Now after a gap of around six weeks, violent stray dogs have reappeared on the same stretch. According to Station house officer of Khairabad police station, Sachin Kumar Singh a report was sent to forest department on March 20 seeking their help in tackling the menace. Besides, seeking some preventive measure, we had put forward the requirement of a combing team to the forest department then. As the dogs had retreated, the combing operation was called off,” says the SHO.
While DM, Sitapur could not be contacted despite several attempts on the phone, Sub-divisional magistrate of Sitapur, Shashank Tripathi said that forest department officials expressed their helplessness in deputing a team as they claimed that they could only deal with wild animals and dog menace was beyond their purview.
Tripathi claimed that Sitapur Nagar Palika Parishad too lacked resources to catch the dogs. However, the unrest among people who stay in 12-km long stretch vulnerable to violent stray dogs forced Sitapur administration to rope in a private dog catcher from Mathura.
“Forest department has agreed to station four of its personnel along with private dogcatcher from Mathura to address the problem,” said Tripathi.