Bollywood actor Sidharth Malhotra has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking stringent measures, punishments and penalties to check acts of cruelty against animals. The Student of the Year actor has joined PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). In his letter, the 33-year-old ‘Ek Villain’ actor has pointed out the minimal penalties that country’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, contains. The Act contains maximum fine of Rs 50 for convicted first offenders who abuse an animal, which the actor called “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,” Malhotra reportedly written in his letter. “If those guilty of cruelty to animals received jail time and significant fines – as well as counseling 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,” Malhotra said. Malhotra also noted that psychologists, sociologists, and law-enforcement officials have all documented that children who hurt animals often end up hurting other humans.
Bollywood celebrities have been endorsing PETA for some time. Malhotra has joined a lineup of stars such as John Abraham, Jacqueline Fernandez, Arjun Kapoor, Sonakshi Sinha, Raveena Tandon Thadani, Dr Kiran Bedi, Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, and Ajinkya Rahane, all of which have called for strengthened animal-protection laws.