Bollywood actor Sidharth Malhotra has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on behalf of of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India, requesting stronger penalties for people who commit acts of cruelty against animals.
Sidharth pointed out that India’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, contains outdated penalties, such as a maximum fine of Rs 50 for convicted first offenders who abuse an animal, which he calls “barely equivalent to a slap on the wrist”.
“As a result, the newspapers are filled with reports of disturbing and egregious animal abuse in our country…including incidents in which dogs were poisoned, cows were burned with acid, and cats were beaten to death. This does significant damage to our reputation as a nation that respects animals,” he wrote.
The Ek Villain star said psychologists, sociologists, and law-enforcement officials have all documented that children who hurt animals often end up hurting other humans.
“If those guilty of cruelty to animals received jail time and significant fines – as well as counselling and a ban on contact with animals – it would help ensure that our duty under Article 51A(g) of the Constitution of India to show animals compassion is better upheld and respected and that society at large is protected from violent behaviour,” Sidharth wrote.
On the work front, Sidharth will be seen in the Karan Johar-produced biopic on Kargil war hero Vikram Batra, who was posthumously awarded the Param Vir Chakra, India’s highest war-time gallantry award.