Across the Red Fort of the Mughal emperors in the centre of Old Delhi, a modest hospital run by followers of the Jain faith looks after birds battered by brutal life in the Indian capital from.



Across the Red Fort of the Mughal emperors in the centre of Old Delhi, a modest hospital run by followers of the Jain faith looks after birds battered by brutal life in the Indian capital from.

Up to 4,000 birds are treated in the three-storey 'Charity Birds Hospital' next to a Jain temple for anything from broken infections and stomach wings and legs to eye troubles.

Jainism is an ancient Indian faith—followed by less than one percent of India's 1.25 billion folks—that preaches nonviolence and love for all creatures, great and small.

Followers believe that all living beings are interdependent and that all have a duties to help others.

Jains also follow a strict vegetarian diet, and a few monks and nuns cover their mouths with fabric to keep them from inadvertently swallowing an insect.

"You can readily locate private practices or ones run by the government or NGOs, (for dogs and cats). But for the birds there is nothing," the hospital's veterinarian Dr Dheeraj Kumar Singh told AFP, standing in a narrow hallway surrounded by cages full of parrots, crows and parakeets.

Built in 1957, the hospital is financed through contributions from the Jain community and visitors.

Between 30 and 40 good Samaritans bring to the hospital every day hurt or sick birds.

A few minutes afterwards, the door opened and in walked a guy gently holding a bloodied kite in his arms.

"He was flying over our road, diving to catch food when he got captured in a kite cord. When he fell he got hurt, and he began to bleed," said Manesh, 29, that has previously brought other fowl to the hospital.

The veterinarian places to work untangling the kite's wing from the string. After cleaned and bandaged, the bird is put in a cage to recuperate.

But while under the attention of the Jains the bird of prey, which typically eats small mammals like mice, will also have to obey a vegetarian diet—cubes of paneer cheese.

The kite will be taken to the roofing of the hospital and released, taking flight and vanishing into the sky, after recuperated.

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