KOLKATA: On a day when two nursing students were arrested for allegedly battering 16 puppies to death on the hospital premises, an association of nurses threatened to go on a mass demonstration if the NRS Hospital compound was not freed of dogs in a day.
“The students and nursing staff at NRS Hospital told us that they were regularly tormented by the dogs on the campus. Although we condemn the brutal killing, we cannot deny that they were harassed by dogs. Hence, we have informed the authorities that if they do not drive away the strays from the NRS Hospital compound within 24 hours, we will go in for a bigger demonstration,” said Parbati Pal of Nurses’ Unity.
The presence of dogs on the hospital campus has become a bone of contention between the nurses and the authorities.
Some nurses at NRS Hospital even said that they had submitted a memorandum to the hospital superintendent, claiming at least 35 nurses and students were bitten by the strays in the last few months and had asked the authorities to take necessary
actions. The hospital officials, however, said no complaint was received and even refused to pay any heed to demands of the nurses.
“People can demand whatever they want but in a society, dogs coexist with humans and no Indian law permits us to pick up dogs randomly and banish them from public places. Such demands will never be tolerated and proper action will be taken if they actually do something to hamper regular work at the hospital,” said Dwaipayan Biswas, deputy superintendent of the hospital.
Instead of banishing dogs from the campus, hospital officials are planning to organize a sustained awareness campaign to prevent such cruelty in the future. “The instance of violence against animals has shocked all of us and we are planning to take some immediate steps to prevent such incidents in the future. We are yet to finalize the course of action but we will take all preventive and awareness measures in the next few days,” said Biswas.
Hours after a three-member committee led by Biswas handed over their preliminary findings to the cops and took the accused students to the police station, where they were arrested, senior officials of the hospital held a meeting to discuss the next steps of action.
“We have asked KMC to undertake a sterilization drive on the campus to check their numbers in the future. So in the next two days, the dogs will be picked up from the campus but will be returned after a sterilization drive,” Biswas said.
Meanwhile, senior officers from the chief minister’s office as well as the office of central minister for women and child development, Maneka Gandhi — a known animal rights activist — called the principal of NRS Hospital and Medical College and asked him to take strict action against those found guilty of the assault.
“The senior officers from the CMO said the chief minister was extremely upset over the issue and asked the principal to take stringent action against the accused students and also ensure such acts never happen on the campus again. A cabinet minister had also called the principal and asked him to ensure the strictest punishment for the nursing students even if they get a quick bail,” said a senior official of the hospital.