Mumbai: Man attacked for feeding strays

CCTV footage from Oshiwara building shows neighbour beating up adman Sanjeev Chopra after an argument while the latter was feeding stray dogs

An Oshiwara resident paid a heavy price for playing Good Samaritan after his neighbour attacked him for feeding stray dogs within the society premises.

Sanjeev Chopra claimed that he fed the strays by hand, so that the parking lot didn't get dirty
Sanjeev Chopra claimed that he fed the strays by hand, so that the parking lot didn't get dirty

The incident, recorded on the CCTV cameras of Oshiwara's Patliputra building, took place last Sunday evening when Sanjeev Chopra, an ad filmmaker, was feeding stray dogs in the building garage. On seeing him, fellow resident Sayyed Fiza Karim, confronted Chopra and warned him against feeding the dogs.

Soon, an argument broke out between the two, after which Karim began assaulting Chopra. Two other residents intervened. Chopra claims when he approached the Oshiwara police station, the cops refused to lodge an FIR against Karim.

According to Chopra, a couple of months ago, a stray from the neighbourhood delivered puppies in their compound. "During the summers, the puppies began to take shelter under my car, and ever since, I have been looking after them," he said. Chopra said that while feeding them, he always ensured that he never left food on the floor.

The CCTV grabs show Sanjeev Chopra feeding the strays, when he was accosted by neigbhour Sayyed Fiza Karim. The duo broke into an argument soon after, following which Karim attacked him. The fight ended when other residents intervened
The CCTV grabs show Sanjeev Chopra feeding the strays, when he was accosted by neigbhour Sayyed Fiza Karim. The duo broke into an argument soon after, following which Karim attacked him. The fight ended when other residents intervened

Chopra went to the Oshiwara police station to lodge an FIR on June 19. "But, the cops said that only an NC (non-cognisable) complaint could be registered in the case as I was not severely injured," Chopra claimed.

When senior police inspector Subhash Khanvilkar called Karim to the police station, the latter lodged a counter NC, stating that Chopra had assaulted him first. "But, if you see the CCTV video, I didn't raise my hand on him," Chopra said.

According to Chopra, it was only after he returned to the Oshiwara police station with a copy of the CCTV video two days later, did the police decide to take the matter seriously. However, an FIR hasn't been lodged yet. "I did manage to file another NC against him for threatening me," said Chopra.

When mid-day contacted Karim, he said, "It is a personal matter. I don't have anything more to say." According to senior inspector Subhash Khandvilkar, Oshiwara police station, Chopra didn't have any injury marks on him, and hence, the police didn't file an FIR in the case. "The nature of the attack was only worth an NC.

Later, when he (Chopra) was threatened, we did register another NC under Section 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) against Karim. Both people involved have a history of enmity. Therefore, the issue between them is not just about feeding dogs."

Feeding strays is not illegal

"Article 51 (A) (g) of the Constitution clearly states that it is the duty of every citizen to be compassionate towards strays and that it is their constitutional duty to feed them," said Meet Ashar, an animal welfare officer appointed by the Bombay HC. In 2012 too, a magistrate court while hearing a case related to stray animals, had stated that feeding them was not a crime.

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