Thursday, September 14, 2017


                                          ( Photo source ... The  Hindu Newspaper )


 A recent newspaper report reads ' Jammu Municipality launches drive to catch stray dogs with handheld nets '. I also saw some Safai Karamcharis running after dogs with handheld nets.

What is this handheld net? Are these poor animals to be Sterilized?

I am reminded of something strange that happened at Mattan town in Kashmir before 1990. Our friend Bushan Lal, posted at the BDO's office, Mattan was assigned the duty of looking after the cleanliness of shops and eatables in Mattan Bazaar. He would be seen inside a milk seller's shop gulping curd Lassi free as and when he felt the need to hydrate his system. Quite often this hospitality was extended to me and some common friends from Srinagar posted at Mattan during those days.

Many times I would see Bushan Lal gossiping with a butcher in the main Bazaar . This butcher had raised a truck loan from our bank's Mattan branch which was running irregular. I would keep visiting his shop for recovery and he would always show me some prescription or relate some problem as the reason for his default. He would conclude:-

' Ba dimma jaldhaai soruyi bamaai sood ' meaning ' Very soon, I will repay all with up to date Interest. '
 That ' very soon ' never saw the light of the day till I remained posted at the Mattan branch of our bank.

There were many stray dogs in Mattan town during those days. Some residents had also been attacked by these dogs. These dogs would move in a group and people were frightened to walk alone lest they get attacked. Accordingly, it was decided by the local BDO’s office to end this dog menace and a contract was awarded to Gaffar butcher. This contract was secured by Gaffar butcher with the active help and inside cooperation from some employees of the BDO's office. The then BDO was also an occasional visitor to Gaffar butcher's shop. Gaffer butcher had planned a novel and cheap way to get rid of the stray dogs. He stored mutton waste and bones from his shop for two / three days and then, as planned, he threw some pieces outside his shop. Many dogs assembled outside his shop and busied themselves in devouring the liberal feast. At that moment, Gaffar butcher brought his truck, opened the backside plank and made a ramp for the dogs to walk into the truck. He then threw bones and mutton waste into the truck's backside. Gaffer butchers' friends guided the stray dogs into the truck with pieces of mutton being flung inside. When a sufficient number of dogs were enjoying the mutton and bone pieces in the truck, the scheming contractor and his friends closed the back of the truck and carried the dogs to Sangam bridge, Bijbihara ( about 20 Km ) and let them jump out. The exercise was repeated. People heaved a sigh of relief as no dog was seen on that Saturday in the Mattan Bazaar.

It was Saturday when this stray dog capturing exercise was conducted by Gaffar butcher, Bushan Lal  and other employees of the BDO's office. I never stayed at Mattan on Saturdays or public holidays. As usual, we closed the bank at 2 p.m. and I rushed to Srinagar ( about 60 km ) to be with my family, It was neither convenient nor economically viable to shuttle daily from Srinagar city and perform hectic bank work for the full day. Sometimes we had to stay late due to field visits. Accordingly, I had taken up a house on rent where I stayed alone for the week. That Saturday, Bushan Lal and some common friends​ stayed back for a grand party.


When I resumed my duties on Monday morning, I found a noisy crowd outside Gaffar butcher's shop. I also came to know that some employees of the BDO's office had been given a thrashing by National Conference leader Mustafa Bodha and his nephews in the main Bazaar of Mattan town. They believed that the real beneficiaries of the dog contract were employees of the BDO's office and Gaffer butcher had received his percentage for becoming a contractor on papers. 

 And the stray dogs had enjoyed all the mutton and bones from Gaffar butcher’s shop but had walked back to Mattan town from Bijbihara on Sunday. On Monday, they were roaming as usual in Mattan town.

 ( Avtar Mota)


Some names have been changed to conceal the identity of the persons in this true incident.

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