Today, a video of a Delhi man viciously beating a stray dog on the street with a stick went viral on Instagram. Pyaar Ka Punchnama actress Sonnalli Seygall, being an animal lover, couldn’t help but feel disgusted by the act. To pitch in some help, the actress amplified the incident through her Instagram tagging all animal cruelty prevention organisations including PETA and the Delhi police to get justice for the beaten dog. However, Instagram pulled down her post citing violation of community guidelines.
But that didn’t deter Sonnalli, who went on to repost the incident and also shared a note to Instagram saying that her post was just to create awareness and highlight the plight of the animals, and shouldn’t be considered a violation. “I was merely bringing forth the criminal, I am not the criminal,” she stated.
Speaking about the legal recourse against animal cruelty in our country, Sonnalli believes that they are “extremely old and archaic and haven’t been amended for a while”. She goes on to add that a lot of propositions have been made recently and many activists have been working towards it. “Some states have passed the law, some haven’t. Earlier there was a fine of Rs 50 and that was up until last year and I know it as I was personally involved in a case. Now it has moved up to Rs 75000 or three times the value of the animal. A jail term of up to five years is being proposed as well,” she informs.
However, the problem is the execution. “The fact remains that some states haven’t passed these laws, and even those who have, they aren’t implementing it. You can make as many stricter laws as you want but if people are going to bribe their way out of the system, they won’t take them seriously. Even the system doesn’t. The attitude is that it’s okay since it’s just animals. Sorry to say, but sometimes it feels like there is no value of human life today, let alone an animal life. In my eyes, there shouldn’t be any discrimination but many people still feel there is. If I put up a social media post against media cruelty today, if 1000 people are supporting it, there will be 100 people questioning why am I not supporting human causes. Why does there have to be a competition? The problem is the basic mindset of the people and it’s a very sad scenario in our country,” Sonnalli asserts.
The actress shares that she felt helpless today when she read about this incident. “I found out that the culprit is one man and his accomplices are minors and they all have been arrested now. I just hope that they get stricter punishment and they don’t get out like it usually happens,” she says.
Sonnalli reveals that she has encountered many acts of animal cruelty and it disgusts and saddens her every time. “One incident happened about two years ago near my house. There was this guard who was beating up a dog. It was 2 o’clock at night and I woke up when I heard the dog’s cry. Me and my mother came out immediately and I rushed the dog to the hospital. The next day, I filed an FIR against the guards. The cops came but the man was let off with a warning or maybe he paid a Rs 50 fine,” she recalls.
The actress states that it saddens her to see the discrimination against the animals. “Today I was literally crying all day after watching that video, feeling helpless and I was reaching out to all my influential friends to spread the message across. And I am so happy that the culprits did get arrested. I just hope they don’t come out easily,” she says.
Sonnalli informs that one of her industry friends told her that unless there is an uproar, nothing changes when it comes to such incidents, and she finds it to be true. “Nothing really happens unless it is trending on Twitter. Recently a YouTuber was arrested for animal cruelty due to an uproar. If a common man goes out to file an FIR today against any animal crime, sadly there will be no action taken, and it is shameful to say,” she avers.
Talking about Instagram deleting her post, Sonnalli shares, “Instagram censoring such content is very technical but I reposted it because I want people to get uncomfortable and see this disgusting reality. We need to come together as a community and create an uproar. Only then things will get due attention and actually change. Social media is a blessing in that regard to bring about a change.”
Sonnalli insists that one doesn’t have to be an animal lover but they shouldn’t stoop down to such heinous acts. “It’s okay to not love animals. Many of my friends aren’t okay with animals and even I didn’t grow up loving them. That’s fine but do not intentionally go out to harm or torture them. That is not okay, and that is how people will go out to do bigger crimes. That is not the behaviour of a mentally stable person. And if people can harm a dog today, tomorrow it can be a human. To me, there’s no difference but for those who don’t care about animals, they should understand that people who can intentionally harm animals, they are capable of doing much worse to humans as well. That is how they get their initial courage,” she signs off.
Image Source: Instagram/sonnalliseygall
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