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Cow politics sparks off fight over polarisation

dehradun Updated: Oct 22, 2017 21:03 IST
Deep Joshi
Deep Joshi
Hindustan Times
Uttarakhand,cow politics,polarisation

A grab of the chief minister’s Twitter page.(TWITTER)

DEHRADUN: The Congress and the BJP on Sunday traded charges of polarising society on communal lines after chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat announced cattle protection teams for Kumaon and Garhwal divisions.

On Saturday, Trivendra Rawat had announced a cow protection squad for Haridwar after complaints over increasing incidences of cow slaughter and smuggling. The CM asserted the step was taken as cow slaughter and its smuggling were banned under the Uttarakhand Protection of Cow Progeny Act.

“We are all for protection of the cow progeny. However, the way this government imposed the related law clearly shows the ruling party’s intention,” Congress leader Surendra Kumar told Hindustan Times. “The entire move is intended to polarise the society with an eye on electoral gains in the coming local body polls and the Lok Sabha elections due in 2019.”

It was clear that the ruling party took the decision to polarise the society with an eye on consolidating vote bank, he said. “This government has imposed the cow protection law as if it has fulfilled all the people’s basic requirements pertaining to roads, electricity, potable water and health,” Kumar said. “If they really want to protect cow and its progeny, why don’t they construct shelter houses and initiate steps to protect them from frequent accidents.”

Meanwhile, Trivendra Rawat declared his government would enforce the Act under which cattle protection teams will be formed in Kumaon and Garhwal divisions. “Each Govansh conservation squad will have 11 policemen, including an inspector. The teams will keep a check on cow smuggling and take necessary legal action against those found smuggling cows,” he tweeted.

The cow protection squad headquartered at Haridwar would take care of Garhwal range. “Similarly, a squad will be stationed at Udham Singh Nagar, which will keep a watch in Kumaon police range,” the chief minister’s media coordinator Darshan Singh Rawat told Hindustan Times. The detailed rules pertaining to the Act were promulgated in 2011.

Countering the allegations, the BJP asserted the Congress ruled the country for nearly 70 years with an attitude to divide the society on communal lines. “Our government’s move is a step towards conserving cows which have been the society’s economic backbone,”BJP state vice-president Jyoti Prasad Gairola said.

Cabinet minister Prakash Pant said the move had nothing to do with the Lok Sabha and the assembly elections which were due in 2019 and 2022.

The BJP’s ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh also came out in support of the Uttarakhand government. “They have no option but to find fault with an innocuous step like cow protection. Otherwise, how will they run their politics?” RSS prant karyavah (state general secretary) Dinesh Semwal countered.

First Published: Oct 22, 2017 21:03 IST