Catching stray pigs in the city is proving to be a security problem for people contracted to round them up.
Munichandra, a third-generation pig-rearer who has a contract from the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to catch pigs across the city, has been seeking police protection following threats and attacks by people rearing the animal illegally.
However, the already overburdened city police are hard to come by. With few contractors willing to face the ire of angry citizens, pig menace remains unchecked in southeast Bengaluru and Rajarajeshwarinagar, said residents.
A majority of illegal pig-rearers live in slum pockets across the city, BBMP officials said. “Most of those who rear pigs have other professions and do this for an additional income. They let pigs out on the streets to graze, creating health hazards,” said a senior official.
Zahid Javali, a resident of HSR Layout, said when he lodged complaints on pig menace, the contractor expressed helplessness over lack of police protection. “Pig-rearers are an organised mafia in the area, backed by a political strongman. Even a former councillor had to call off a pig-catching drive in the last minute following threats,” he said. “Pig menace has gone unchecked in the area,” he said.
Loss of income
For contractors such as Mr. Munichandra, threats from local pig-rearers and the lack of police protection have resulted in a loss of income. He recounted a recent trip to Kengeri where his team was followed by a gang of over 20 youths on bikes who were threatening them. Members of his team have got into several altercations and skirmishes with pig-rearers in southeast Bengaluru — HSR Layout, Kudlu and Sarjapur Road — as well, he said.
“Now, every time I get a complaint from an area to catch pigs, I seek police protection. But most times, they are busy and don’t come. This has led to situations when I had to cancel the trips to these areas altogether,” he said, and added that his pleas with the BBMP had also failed to solve the problem.
Sarfaraz Khan, Joint Commissioner, Health, BBMP, acknowledged that catching pigs had almost stopped in the city following attacks on the team. “We will call a meeting of pig-rearers in these slums, help them with loans from Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Development Corporation so that they can give up pig-rearing and look for other businesses. This worked in Yelahanka two years ago,” he said.