Hyderabad: Sujitha Daggubati, an animal rights activist who feeds nearly 500 dogs in Hyderabad, was attacked by a group of people with stones and knives on 27 October. Sujitha alleges that the local colony association members are involved in the attack.
At least 20 men and women attempted to attack her on 27 October at 8:30 p.m.
"The local association members and some residents of the Madhura Nagar area have always disliked that I feed the stray dogs here," Sujitha said.
Sujitha is an animal lover and has been feeding and helping stray dogs since Covid-19 in 2020. She, along with her mentor Prasad, feeds the strays in multiple areas—Madhura Nagar, Yusufguda, Banjara Hills, and more. Over the last year, with the help of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) and Blue Cross, she has ensured that most dogs are sterilised.
"I have lived in Madhura Nagar since 1996. I have always loved and helped animals. However, during Covid-19, I took it up seriously. I feed dogs between 6-9 p.m daily. I cook the food in my house," she said.
Sujitha said the people of the colony have never encouraged her to feed stray dogs. "Many people have been very cruel to the dogs. I have come across cases of dog poisoning. Recently, some drunkard severely injured a dog with a broken glass for no reason," she said.
She added that some residents are of the opinion that the dogs continue to stay in the area because she feeds them. "They have repeatedly abused me and threatened me multiple times. I have also been accused of taking money from NGOs and the government to feed dogs. I see no logic in this and don't understand what is wrong with feeding stray animals," Sujitha said.
After feeding the dogs, Sujitha also ensures that plates are disposed of and the roads or spots where the dogs are eating are tidy.
"I have been constantly shunned for feeding animals in Madhura Nagar. Now, it has come into my life," she said.
Six months ago, Sujitha moved from Madhura Nagar to Banjara Hills. "Since then, many people have asked me to stop coming to Madhura Nagar. They keep saying I have no work there," she added.
Several times, Sujitha got into quarrels with the colony residents. Many times, the police had to come and break it up. "What happened on 27 October was scary. There were at least 20 men and women. One of them attacked me with a knife. I called my friends and family. They rushed to help me and I escaped," she recalled.
"Is this the price for feeding stray animals with my own money? I don't know what I have done. I have never asked these people to do anything," Sujitha said.
She has filed a complaint with the SR Nagar police station. An FIR is yet to be registered. The police said it will be filed soon and an investigation is ongoing.