Delhi’s Department of Forests and Wildlife says cow is national cattle, but doesn’t know when it was done. Experts suspect it is a goof-up.
New Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi isn’t ordinarily known for indulging in cow politics. But, in a rather curious response to an RTI application, the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government has declared the cow to be the “national cattle of India”.
Befuddled with the response, especially since nobody seems to be aware of when this decision was taken and who took it, animal rights activists have raised plenty of questions.
Enquiries made by ThePrint showed that even the RTI Cell, which had sent the response to the applicant about the new special status accorded to the cow, wasn’t sure of the source of this information.
When asked for the government notification on which the information was based, the RTI Cell’s response was: “It may have been added on the basis of the proposal made by the Rajasthan High Court to declare the cow as the national animal.”
Prodded further, the cell in-charge acknowledged that it could also be a “technical error”.
Incidentally, even the date of the RTI response was incorrect: 28 March 2018.
Why the RTI was filed
The RTI application, filed by Sukanya Kadyan Berwal, requested for information pertaining to the “rules and regulations” under which the national animal, national bird, national heritage animal, national aquatic animal, national cattle, state animal of Delhi, state bird of Delhi and national game of India are accorded special status.
While the official website of central government lists the national animal, flower, bird and even tree, the other categories – including “national cattle” — are not mentioned anywhere.
“I have never heard of national cattle of India,” said Jayasimha Nuggehalli, an animal rights activist. “There was a National Cattle Commission constituted in 2002, which recommended making cow the national animal, but that never actually happened.”
“For us, the Delhi government’s response is a government notification,” said Naresh Kadyan, chairman of People for Animals (PFA) Haryana, who along with Berwal has started an online petition to declare cow the “national cattle of India”.
Incidentally, last month, the Rajasthan High Court had directed the state government to coordinate with the Centre and take steps for declaring cow as the national animal.
In recent years, cows have been at the centre of national politics, with several cases of mob lynchings and communal violence in the name of cows being reported from across the country, including Rajasthan.