Two nursing staffers were arrested on Tuesday in connection with the carcasses of 15 puppies found dumped on the premises of Neel Ratan Sarkar Hospital in Kolkata’s Sealdah two days ago.
The accused, Moutusi Mondal (21) and Soma Barman (21), were identified after a video, purportedly of them repeatedly hitting puppies with sticks, surfaced online. Soma is a first-year nursing student at NRS Medical College while Mondal is a second-year student. “They have been arrested under sections 429 (killing or maiming animal) and 201 (causing disappearance of evidence) of the IPC and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act,” said a senior police officer.
Following an outcry over the incident, hospital authorities and police held a meeting Tuesday morning, during which officials identified the two accused. The two allegedly confessed while being questioned by a three-member probe committee of hospital authorities and police.
“They have confessed to the crime. I took them to police. We will submit our report to Swasthya Bhawan tomorrow,” said Dwaipayan Biswas, Deputy Superintendent of NRS Hospital.
The accused allegedly told the committee that they acted the way they did because they were “scared” of the puppies outside their hostel, and that they were unable to “even use the bathroom” as the puppies would often sleep inside.
“It is expected that more people were involved and action will be taken against them all. It is a case of animal brutality and no one will be spared,” said the police officer.
NRS hospital sources said five people had been present at the spot when the two women were allegedly recorded beating the puppies.
While officers were questioning the accused in Entally police station at around 9.50 am, around 40 people gathered outside and held a protest over the killing of the puppies, demanding action against the accused.
“Later, at about 12.20 pm, the strength swelled to 80 people as members of a Facebook community joined them,” said a police officer.
After the meeting, when Deputy Commissioner Debasmita Das was moving towards the exit, some protestors attacked her vehicle as they suspected Das of escorting the two accused.
Meanwhile, Nurses Unity, an organisation of nurses in the state, has threatened to go on strike demanding the removal of stray dogs from NRS premises.
“We do not support the incident. It’s a heinous crime. However, nurses had complained to hospital authorities about the growing number of puppies inside the campus, but no action was taken. This incident was also caused due to negligence on their part,” a member of the group told The Indian Express.