On October 26th, two sisters in Mumbai were reportedly assaulted and molested by residents in their building as they rescued and fed puppies in the neighborhood. The sisters were gheraoed by 20 members of their society, who brutally attacked them.

  • Background of the incident:  Kiran Ahuja, 29, a physiotherapist, and her sister Shilpa, 28, a corporate lawyer; have been feeding close to 80 dogs every day within the Dindoshi area in Mumbai’s suburbs over the past few years. They moved to Sanjay Gandhi Nagar SRA in Dindoshi in March, where they continued feeding strays at one end of the colony.

They allegedly received several threats from the residents for feeding a female stray in the society premises. However, after regular complaints from residents, Kiran and her sister began feeding the dogs outside the society premises from April onwards. Matters got worse after a dog gave birth to a litter of pups.

I got most of the neighborhood dogs neutered, but somehow missed this dog. She gave birth to five pups. I faced a lot of abuse and harassment by the society members for taking care of her and her pups, but I didn’t stop,” said Kiran, to NDTV.
On October 13, Kiran and Shilpa left for their hometown Raipur for Diwali celebrations, leaving a friend in charge of feeding the strays. They soon learned that someone had taken advantage of their absence and dumped the puppies at a secluded spot in Goregaon East.

  • The incident 

After knowing about the situation Kiran wrote a letter to Maneka Gandhi’s organization People for Animals (PFA) asking for help after which an NGO warned the society secretary. After knowing this, Rustom Patel with his sons Riyaaz and Arbaaz barged inside their home and threatened them with dire consequences. After receiving threats, the sisters decided to visit Kurar police station to lodge a non-cognisable (NC) offense.

The worst was yet to come.“The same night, my sister was alone at home,” Shilpa said to Odnnari.com. “She had gone out to feed the dogs when she saw Rustom beating the female dog with a bamboo stick. She tried to stop him but this didn’t go well with Rustom and he called her a r**di and said ‘Tu ruk, mai dikahta hu tujhe.'” Said Shilpa.

“It was around 7:30 pm. I had just returned from office. I saw a mob of 20 people surrounding my sister. They were brutally attacking her and were even trying to tear off her clothes. I rushed outside to help her. Though I tried to save my sister, there were too many of them. They started attacking me too. We were bleeding and had scratches all over us. One of the women with them said, ‘Inke kapde phaad do, tab yeh bahar Nahi bhaag payegi.’ We somehow ran to the police station right outside our society,”  Shilpa told to Oddnari.

  • Actions taken

The sisters then approached the police around midnight, and an FIR was filed against Patel, his son Riyaz and a third person.They were charged under Sections 354 (molestation), 452 (house-trespass), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 504 (intentional insult), 506 (criminal intimidation), 143 (unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting) and 149 of the IPC and immediately arrested.

The society should encourage people who take a stand against such brutality, but acts like this would scare anyone who would want to speak up.

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