Mystery maiming of dogs in Kerala; terror scheme suspected

published on November 7, 2012

Incidents of stray dogs getting hacked with sharp weapons have been recurring in Kerala’s Kozhikode, Malappuram and Thrissur districts of late throwing law-enforcers into a tizzy. Though the police have so far been unable to make any inferences on the intention behind these cruel acts, reports now suggest that these could well be part of a terror training programme.

Dozens of dogs had got maimed – some had even been killed – in the past few months in various places in Malappuram district alone. The police have already questioned over 100 persons and have registered six cases in connection with these incidents. However, the police have not yet been able to find any vital leads in any of the cases.

The Kerala Home Department is now considering the incidents seriously in the light of a report from the Intelligence Bureau that these could be the handiwork of certain religious extremist groups. A joint team of the Kerala Police and the Forest Force is now looking into such incidents, according to State Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan.

The IB report on the possibility of the terror angle has shocked the Kerala Police as it has so far been considering these acts as common anti-social elements’ mischief. For the same reason, inquiries were being done on the basis of cases registered under Section 419 of the IPC (mischief by maiming or killing of cattle, etc) and laws pertaining to cruelty towards animals.

The report assumes further significance in the context of the recent NIA observation that Kerala is an important fountainhead of terrorism in the country. Also, most of the areas from where incidents of dog-hacking have been reported are also known for the presence of activists of certain alleged extremist groups.

Most of the incidents of the mystery dog-hacking have been reported from the Areacode, Kalikavu, Perinthalmanna, Pandikkad, Changaramkulam Kottakkal police station limits in Muslim-majority Malappuram district. However, a few incidents have also been reported recently from Kozhikode and Palakkad districts.

A report from Wayanad district said that over 30 dogs were found with hack injuries in their necks and heads in Cherambadi-Vaduvanchal area of the district bordering Tamil Nadu in the past few months amidst rumours that certain extremist groups had been organizing physical training camps in many places under the garb of martial arts practice.

In most cases, the dogs had suffered hack injury in the head or neck, presumably by sharp weapons like swords, strengthening the suspicion that the act could be part of a terror training programme to let the “trainee” overcome the revulsion and fear of inflicting injuries on live flesh and the sight of oozing blood.

According to police officials, the depth and angle of wounds found on the ‘victims’ suggest that the ‘assailants’ could be bike-mounted and were committing the offence while on the move. Though most of the cases of dog-hacking were reported a long while after the incident, officials say that it is not difficult to assume that weapons like swords are being used.

“We have heard of mafia and terror gangs using attacks on animals as a training scheme in several Western countries,” said a senior police official. “It is quite difficult for even the most hardcore criminals to thrust a sword into a living body and using this method is expected to help the trainee get over that fear factor,” he said. “Still, we’re not jumping to conclusions,” he added.

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