BARMER Ten cows died when cattle were shifted from a shelter home to open fields in bordering villages of Barmer district, fuelling protests by villagers and cow vigilantes. After seeing bodies of the cows in the fields on Wednesday, villagers filed a case at Girab police station in Barmer. “After being informed by the villagers, we inspected the location and found about 10 bodies of cows and a dozen injured animals,” said Shambhu Ram, head constable at Girab police station. “We lodged the case against unknown accused and started investigation.” Girab sarpanch Shankar Singh filed the case.Preliminary investigation indicated that the cows died due to negligence of Barmer municipal council authorities, police said. The cows were shifted after council authorities refused to bear the expenses at the cow shelter home.The deaths put spotlight on poor upkeep at cow shelters. The state government had drawn flak after 500 cows died at the Jaipur Municipal Corporation’s Hingonia cow rehabilitation centre in July-August 2016. More than 900 cattle head died after flood waters entered gaushalas in Jalore and Sirohi districts in July this year.Girab villagers alleged cows were overloaded in trucks and they died due to suffocation. Council employees threw the bodies in open fields and escaped, they alleged.Pawan Kumar, revenue officer at the Barmer municipal council, said they shifted about 100 cows to the bordering villages after getting a directive from the district collector. Kumar claimed that they have safely shifted the cows.Collector Shivprasad Nakate was not available for comments. Barmer sub-division officer Chetanram Tripathi said he was not aware about the incident, adding the council authorities shifted the cows on their own.Basant Kumar, a cow vigilante, said he had opposed council authorities’ decision to shift the cows. “Later authorities assured me that they have arranged some cattle rearer who will take care of the cows.”Kumar alleged that instead ensuring a cattle rearer, council authorities left the cows at isolated places with no facilities.