If one Indian charity has its way, stray dogs and monkeys will be shipped out of New Delhi to a remote corner of the country. The Society for Public Cause petitioned the Delhi High Court on Wednesday, saying the animals were hurting Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi's campaign to improve cleanliness, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).
The New Delhi-based nonprofit suggested that the monkeys and dogs be either exported or sent to Nagaland, which AFP described as "a far-flung state in India's northeast where the meat of dog and monkey is considered a delicacy." New Delhi has a large number of stray dogs, some of which are friendly and nonthreatening. Others, however, are reportedly ill-tempered and the city has experienced a high incidence of dog bites.
A 2012 report in the New Times said that no country had as many strays as India -- numbering in the tens of millions, with millions of attacks and bites -- and that an estimated 20,000 people died annually in the country from rabies infections. That accounted for nearly a third of the rabies toll worldwide. The most recent data, from a 2009 city survey, pegged the number of stray dogs in New Delhi at 260,000, according to AFP.
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"Street dogs are defiling the Clean India programme launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi," the NGO said in its Delhi High Court petition through lawyer L. S. Chaudhary, according to the Press Trust of India news agency. Chaudhary went on to say that street dogs and monkeys need to be "eliminated," and those people who suffer because of the animals should be compensated. AFP reported that monkeys, which are revered by many in Hindu-majority India, often trash residences and attack people for food. The court will reportedly take up the issue on Aug. 17.
Modi launched his cleanliness campaign last October, aiming to make a cleaner India a concern of the entire society, not just the lower castes. "Don't we all have a duty to clean the country?" Modi asked at the time, according to Reuters. The goal was to modernize sanitation by 2019, in a country where less than one-third of the population of 1.2 billion people had access to sanitation, Reuters reported at the time.