When messiahs come under fire...
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When messiahs come under fire...

Prabha Jagannathan, a dog lover from Shipra Sun City, Indirapuram, has been enduring verbal and physical abuse, threats and assaults over the past 17 years. What is wrong with us humans?

When messiahs come under fire...

Prabha Jagannathan takes care of 150 stray dogs inside her society, Shipra Sun City, Indirapuram. How do you think the residents of the society reacted to that?

The broken window pane in her balcony and the stitches on her forehead give you an idea.

She has faced name-calling, verbal and physical abuse, threats of physical harm, acid attacks and death for the past 17 years that she’s lived here. There have been instances where angry mobs gathered at her doorstep, hurling abuses and egging her to come out.

What is the police doing? — you might think. Nothing.

This woman has been standing alone, like a rock, weathering everything that has been thrown at her. And she hasn’t budged. For 17 years.

This is her story…

Prabha Jagannathan moved into Shipra Sun City in Indirapuram 17 years ago. A journalist specialising in politics and economics, she has always been an animal lover.

She has been a care giver for over 150 stray dogs living in and around the Shipra township in Indirapuram. Organisations such as Friendicoes,  SPCA, AWB and PFA have supported her in her cause.

Jagannathan has played a major role in carrying out vaccination and sterilisation of strays in the area. She does not have an exact count, estimates helping about 400 dogs. Be it an injured puppy, a limping dog or a blind one left out to fate, she's out to make home for them.

Then why would anyone want to harm her?


Jagannathan with one of her many dogs


Rekha Grover, her neighbour, along with some other residents are for some reason, against her care for dogs. They have tried everything to oust her from the society. But Jagannathan has always been one tough cookie.

She has tried reason, she has tried to spread awareness about the importance of her work, but in vain. Barring a handful, majority of the ‘educated’ residents have been against the anti-rabies programme.

They just want her out, along with her dogs, of course. They have shown no hesitation in threatening to damage her property and even kill the dogs.

What can you say?

To understand what she has been going through for all these years, here are a chain of recent events allegedly sparked by a dog bite in the society:

On May 6, a mob of residents surrounded Jagannathan in a public park, slapped and repeatedly called her ‘bitch’. They brandished broken pipes and rods and openly threatened to kill her along with her furry friends. They again threatened to damage her vehicle and property. This lasted for around 40 minutes.

On May 7, They went about the colony with broken sharp-edged pipes beating and attacking the dogs in the colony. They were yelling that they were bitten to incite others, although no dog had bitten.

Evening: Some 50 men and women, blocked the staircase and exits and shouted “Come out, bitch”. Armed with broken pipes and rods, they openly threatened to kill her. Jagannathan called the police several times but some local constables who came did nothing to disperse the violent mob.

The mob climbed up to her 3rd floor apartment, ripped the netting on the metal gate, unbolted the door from outside and threatened to kill her yet again. The police did nothing to disperse the mob, which was present for two hours.

On May 8 early morning, the mob re-assembled and beat up the community dogs. The mob yelled abuses and gathered outside Jagannathan’s apartment. The mob was led to the terrace from where the mob pelted stones at the balcony window and smashed it.


The broken window pane in Jagannathan's apartment


On May 9, similar name calling and attacks on dogs ensued. Jagannathan’s new vehicle was scratched all over and the tyres were deflated. Even her friends were not spared — spectacles were snatched and an iPad which was used to record the incident was smashed.

Several attempts to get help from the police were thwarted and when the SO of Indirapuram finally responded he said "The work you do deserves this treatment. What are we to do?"

On May 10, 2016 the mob gathered again to restart the abuse attacks.

It was only after the direct intervention of Maneka Gandhi and other activists from PFA that an FIR was lodged. The FIR was lodged against the activities of Rekha Grover under sections 323, 506 and 427 of IPC 1860. The SO Gorakhnath Yadav called Prabha personally and assured her safety.