Cow caretakers seek seers’ support for Yogi Adityanath’s push to save ‘gau mata’
Heads of cow shelters in Bihar, Jharkhand and Bengal have sought support of seers and temple authorities across India for Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s push to protect the sacred bovineindia Updated: Mar 25, 2017 18:22 IST
Heads of cow shelters in Bihar, Jharkhand and Bengal on Saturday sought support of seers and temple authorities across India for Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s push to protect the bovine, considered ‘gau mata’ by many Hindus.
The appeal was made at a workshop of the Akhil Bharatiya Goushala Sangh (ABGS), an umbrella body of cow shelters acorss the country, which was attended by members of goushalas operating in the three states.The workshop was held at Jharkhand’s capital Ranchi.
Immediately after assuming office last week, the BJP chief minister of UP has launched a crackdown on illegal slaughter houses in the state and asked police to keep track of transportation of cattle.
The UP government’s drive has reignited a debate on freedom of personal choice with critics accusing Hindu right-wing groups of curtailing the menu of a large section of the population who prefer the cheaper beef over other meat.
“(The) time has come we save our holy cows,” Jharkhand Pradeshik Goushala Sangha president RK Agarwal said at the workshop.
He also stressed on the need for taking out cow protection rallies in every village of the country to educate the poor and farmers on the significance of rearing cows for social, economic, religious, environment and health benefits.
Duttsharananandji Maharaj, founder of world’s biggest cow sanctuary at Pathmeda, flew down to Ranchi from Rajasthan to address the workshop and spoke on the need for launching a massive cow protection campaign in India.
The Pathmeda sanctuary is a shelter for 1.27 lakh cows run and managed by seers.
Jhakhand is one of the few states in the country that has enacted the Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act. The act carries a penalty of Rs 5,000 and imprisonment of up to five years or both for offenders.
The BJP government is planning to make cow slaughter a non-bailable offence.
The Jharkhand government has also announced annual grant of Rs. 50 lakh—the highest in the country-- to every registered cow shelters in the state.
While Jharkhand has 27 registered cow shelters, neghbouring state Bihar has 86, but majority of them have been encroached by land sharks.
Last year, cow vigilante groups allegedly killed and hanged two Muslim cattle traders in Latehar district sparking nation-wide anger.
The ABGS has already launched a Bharat Goudarshan Yatra 2017 wherein members and saints patronising cow protection will travel to at least five states and two neighbouring countries-Nepal and Bhutan, meeting local bodies and educating them on steps to be initiated to make cow shelters economically and socially viable.
The Pathmeda founder said those treating cow as a mere animal are anti-Vedic and anti-India.
“Cow is associated with Gods and religion. Unfortunately, in this country people are killing it for insignificant amounts. I started my shelter at Pathdema after rescuing eight cows while they were being smuggled. Today, there are more than a lakh cows there. I don’t find why others cannot do it,” he said.
The ABGS members unanimously hailed Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy for moving a private member’s bill in the parliament seeking death penalty for cow slaughter.
The bill has, however, raised fears of persecution of the minority community.
“The law (against cow slaughter) is supreme and we all should abide by it. But harassing a community or propagating violence against them in garb of Gauraksha isn’t acceptable,” said Shahid Akhtar, national convener of Muslim Rashtriya Manch and court member of Aligarh Muslim University.