Northeast Indian state bans sale of dog meat amid protest

A man transports live dogs tucked into sacks to be killed for their meat at a market in Dimapur of India’s northeastern Nagaland on March 27, 2019. (AFP)
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Updated 04 July 2020

Northeast Indian state bans sale of dog meat amid protest

  • State government banned all commercial import and trading of dogs and also the sale of dog meat, both cooked and uncooked

GAUHATI, India: Authorities in India’s northeastern state of Nagaland have banned the sale of dog meat and halted the import and trading of dogs to be used for food, officials said Saturday.
The remote Christian-majority state’s Chief Secretary Temjen Toy said in a tweet that the state government banned all commercial import and trading of dogs and also the sale of dog meat, both cooked and uncooked. The move followed an appeal earlier in the week by Indian lawmaker Maneka Gandhi, who urged the Nagaland government to act.
Gandhi’s appeal came after she received fresh photographs of the trade from a Nagaland-based animal protection group. The appeal led to more than 125,000 people writing to the Nagaland government to urge the banning of the dog trade and the sale of dog meat.
“This is a major turning point in ending the cruelty in India’s hidden dog meat trade,” animal rights advocacy group Humane Society International said in a statement.
The group estimates that up to 30,000 dogs a year are smuggled into Nagaland, where they are sold in live markets. The group also says dogs are regularly beaten to death with wooden clubs.
Authorities praised the movement.
“This is a progressive move. In this day and age, positive social media activism and advocacy has an enormous impact on policymakers. Congrats and thanks to all,” Abu Metha, an adviser to Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, the state’s highest elected official, said in a tweet.
Apart from Nagaland, thousands of dogs each year are illegally captured for consumption from the streets or stolen from homes in other northeast Indian states, including Mizoram, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh, rights groups say.


Kabul assembly to decide fate of last Taliban inmates

Updated 07 August 2020

Kabul assembly to decide fate of last Taliban inmates

  • The 400 inmates still in government custody have been at the center of a dispute that is delaying peace
  • A prisoner swap between the Taliban and Kabul was a major part of the February agreement signed by the US and the militants in Qatar

KABUL: President Ashraf Ghani on Friday inaugurated a traditional grand assembly, the Loya Jirga, to help decide whether the last 400 Taliban prisoners held by Kabul should be freed as part of a historic peace deal between the US and the militants. 
The 400 inmates still in government custody have been at the center of a dispute that is delaying peace in the war-torn country.
A prisoner swap between the Taliban and Kabul was a major part of the February agreement signed by the US and the militants in Qatar.
The exchange should have taken place in early March and be immediately followed by talks to decide the future of Afghanistan’s political system, including the creation of an interim government.
“Today, we have gathered here to discuss what is our interest in the talks and the ultimate price of peace. Now is the time for making a major decision,” Ghani told the assembly of over 3,200 delegates in Kabul. 
“The Taliban have committed that after the freedom of their 400 prisoners, they will begin official talks with our delegation,” he said. “But at the same time, they have also warned that if the prisoners are not freed, they will not only continue the violence, but also increase it.” 
The Qatar agreement stipulated that the Afghan government would first release up to 5,000 Taliban prisoners and the militants would free about 1,000 national security personnel. Ghani’s government, which was not part of the Qatar accord, initially refused to free the militants. 
However, under pressure from Washington, Kabul has freed more than 4,600 Taliban inmates. But it is refusing to free the remaining 400 who, it said, had been behind major crimes and attacks.   
After Eid Al-Adha prayers last week, Ghani announced he would summon the Loya Jirga, a traditional council to reach consensus among Afghanistan’s rival tribes, factions and ethnic groups.
Delegates are expected to announce their decision in three days. 
As Ghani spoke, a woman delegate stood and voiced her opposition to the release of the remaining Taliban inmates, saying that it would be “national treason.” 
The meeting has been held under tight security and parts of Kabul are under lockdown. 
Many of Afghanistan’s political and tribal leaders, including former President Hamid Karzai, were absent from the assembly.   
Meanwhile, the Taliban accused Ghani of blocking the start of negotiations.  
The US special envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, said the Kabul assembly was a historic “opportunity for peace” and “must be seized by all sides.”