As a prominent, esteemed and long-standing member of the Indian animal welfare community, and an executive member of the Animal Welfare Board of India no less, the animal lovers of Hyderabad looked to, and expected action from Ms. Akkineni in response to the grave cruelties they found at the Hyderabad pounds, of which she has admitted to being fully aware. Instead, they got silence. Ms. Akkineni, while fully cognizant of the city-run torture centers right under her nose for some years, chose to do nothing. Worse, in what appears to be a political move to secure an ABC contract with the city of Hyderabad, her organization, the Blue Cross of Hyderabad, issued a certificate of commendation to the very man responsible for the abomination, the CVO Dr. P. Venkateswara Reddy.
How the moral lens of a professed animal protector could have become so darkened, we do not know. What we do know is that Ms. Akkineni has lost all moral and political capital with the animal defenders of Hyderabad, and rightly so. This bitter, regretful alienation has been exacerbated by Ms. Akkineni's explicit denunciation of the very activists who have been the only ones to speak out on behalf of the creatures rotting away in the city's pounds before our very eyes. One would think she would be happy that so many people in Hyderabad have rallied and assumed the mantle of animal protection. Instead she has made clear her intention to keep them off the volunteer monitoring committees and has sided with the perpetrators of unspeakable crime against innocent animals in order to silence the very people who are making every effort to protest the cruelty and put a stop to it.
If Ms. Akkineni possessed neither the courage nor the moral fibre to stand up against city authorities in a case as dead obvious as this, then how can she possibly be expected to function in good faith as a monitor??? Clearly, Ms. Akkineni is not equipped for the role expected of her. We demand Ms. Akkineni's immediate resignation from the Animal Welfare Board of India. Further, it is crucial that she vacate her position on the ABC monitoring committee in Hyderabad in order to make room for someone possessed of the integrity and character necessary for this very important job. Likewise, we insist that she abstain from further backroom wheeling and dealing with the Commissioner & co., since her m.o. has clearly been the repression and silencing of the very dissent that is the only hope for the redemption of the suffering creatures at the Hyderabad pounds.
If members of animal welfare organizations that have ABC contracts with municipal bodies find themselves so compromised that they are unable to confront abuses of power as flagrant as those that have transpired in Hyderabad, then we urge the AWBI to modify the rules for the monitoring committee to keep such people out of the monitoring role, since their silence only serves to aid and abet suffering.
Anything less than Ms. Akkineni's immediate resignation and withdrawal from all negotiations on pound reform makes a mockery of the AWBI and its noble mission.
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