The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is facing its worst nightmare in Uttar Pradesh in the form of stray cows. And unfortunately, the poor farmers have to pay the price with their crops. Villagers allege that owners of unproductive cattle have turned them out, and now huge stray herds can be seen wandering in the countryside eating crops.
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Since coming to power in 2014, the ruling party fueled gaurakshas throughout India. And a ban on beef was put in place. Slaughtering of cows was and is prohibited, illegal in a number of states. And this has also resulted to mob lynching and death for the ‘sake of cow’. BJP rode high on the wave of cow protection, which became a popular movement in young Hindu youths and followers of Hindutva. However, this didn’t last long and the party suffered a surprising loss in the Hindi heartland. Experts attribute this loss to disruption of the rural economy on account of the party’s stance on cattle. Villagers have to guard their crops day and night, chasing away stray cows.
The cattle destroy someone or the other’s crops and this is serious damage for the farmers. The state government talks of building more gaushalas to look after aged cattle. But existing gaushalas do not even have the funds to buy fodder for their sheltered animals. Villagers have also alleged that some gaushalas turn their animals loose in the evenings to find their own food. The state has 30 million cattle, of which about two million will become unproductive every year. Farmers in UP have reported huge losses after their crops were raided by stray bovine. The affected farmers are often forced to not only lock up the stray cows in government premises but can also be seen charging at them with wooden sticks in their hands.
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The head of the Gramya Bharat Jan Chetna Yatra, Sandeep Kajla had earlier said that young people do not understand that when BJP raises issues like gaumata, they are getting distracted from asking about new jobs instead. Kajla said the fear of mob violence has disrupted cattle trade. “Unable to sell old and infirm animals for slaughter, dairy farmers are now releasing them into the open. Stray cattle are rampaging through standing crops, causing huge losses to farmers.”
The BJP should come up with a better policy for cow protection and gaushalas and take full responsibility rather than leaving it to the common man. Its the BJP who had after all created the gaurakshak frenzy.