Tuesday, 25 January, 2022
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Now, HP Congress MLA wants cow declared ‘Mother of the Nation’, Assembly passes resolution

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Congress goes one up on BJP over gau mata in Himachal. A cow cess on liquor already in place. First cow ‘sanctuary’ inaugurated.

Shimla: After filling its manifesto with ‘cow’ promises in Madhya Pradesh, the Congress is taking its ‘holy’ war to the BJP in Himachal Pradesh now.

Its MLA Anirudh Singh Tanwar moved a private member’s resolution in the state assembly Thursday demanding that the cow be named the Rashtramata or ‘mother of the nation’ and also urged the state government to approach the Centre with that demand.

Not surprisingly, it was adopted by the assembly.

The Congress is fighting the BJP on who’s more loyal to the cow. The BJP government of Himachal Pradesh had imposed a cess on all liquor sales for the welfare of the cow.

Among other things, the Congress MLA’s appeal seeks a nation-wide ban on cow slaughter (it’s already banned in Himachal Pradesh) and a uniform pan-India policy for its protection.

Speaking to ThePrint from Dharamsala, where the assembly is in session, Singh said he was “an ardent worshipper of the cow”.

“There is no politics in my demand, unlike the BJP,” he added. “What I want is that the holy gau mata should get its due place, glory and care. The cow has always held an esteemed place in our religion.

“No simple ritual, from birth to death, is complete without cow worship,” he said. “So what’s all the fuss about?”

A day after his resolution, the assembly passed a bill moved by the BJP government to set up a watchdog to oversee all cow welfare initiatives.

The proposed ‘Gau Seva Aayog’ will serve as a regulatory body to supervise the functioning of different agencies engaged in the welfare of cows, including gaushalas and cow research centres (gauvigyan kendras).

It will also regulate the implementation of laws relating to the protection of cows from slaughter, besides framing policies and funding institutions engaged in the management and enrichment of the “gau vansh” (loosely, cow family).

The bill follows a slew of measures introduced under the year-old Jai Ram Thakur-led BJP government in the state, including a Re 1 cow cess on each liquor bottle, and a welfare corpus built with 15 per cent of each temple and religious trust’s annual income.

The cess and the temple donations, the CM had said while announcing the initiatives, are expected to translate into annual earnings of Rs 8 crore and Rs 17 crore, respectively, each year.

The chief minister has already laid the foundation stone for the state’s first cow sanctuary at Kotla-Barog, near Rajgarh in Sirmaur district, to be developed at a cost of Rs 1.55 crore.

The BJP government has described these sanctuaries as a cut above gaushalas, where abandoned and stray cows will be given a safe space to graze and live in their “natural environment”.

“Cow sanctuaries are a new concept, different from gaushalas,” said Virender Kanwar, the Himachal Pradesh minister for Animal Husbandry and Rural Development. “Here, abandoned, aged, disabled and weak animals will live in their natural environment. Provision for proper feeding/grazing and shelter will be made and the place will be fenced.”

Also Read: BJP swept away in Rajasthan’s cow vigilante hotbed of Alwar & Bharatpur

‘No.1 in the country’

According to Kanwar, the plan is to build at least one cow sanctuary in each district, as part of a larger push to develop Himachal as India’s safest space for cows.

“We are working on plans to… do everything possible to protect the gau vansh. No abandoned cows and stray cattle will be seen loitering in the streets, ill-treated or neglected,” he added.

“Many die in road accidents… Once all our plans are in place, Himachal will become the No. 1 state in the country to save, conserve and look after cows,” Kanwar said.

Other initiatives include two projects to set up cow research centres — with a budget of Rs 8 crore and Rs 10 crore — and a ‘cow progeny centre’ to promote indigenous breeds, Kanwar added.

Besides a push for the use of cow urine for medicinal purposes, the minister said, the government seeks to encourage the utilisation of cow dung for zero-budget natural farming, a concept pioneered by Karnataka that aims to free farmers from debt.

Kanwar, however, dismissed the requirement of any law to ban cow slaughter, citing the one already in place.

The welfare of cow has been a burning issue in the state since before the last year’s assembly election.

As an opposition MLA, forest minister Govind Singh Thakur had sought to question the previous government on a host of issues, including an allegedly inadequate financial support to feed cows at gaushalas.

“A more serious issue… is cow smuggling and the fact that cattle is taken for slaughter to states like Uttar Pradesh, despite the ban,” Himachal Pradesh Hindu Jagran Manch president K.C. Sadyal, a former IPS officer, said.


Also Read: Congress wants to protect cows in MP while they slaughtered calf in Kerala: PM Modi


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  1. When the cow gives no milk, villagers let them loose. They often hurt crops and eat what ever they can. Second and more important point is this:
    If cow is a sacred animal, why is India one of the largest beef exporter.Foreigners can eat Indian beef but Indians can’t. You donot want to eat beef don’t eat, but let others eat if they want. Not many people can afford to eat meat. I know number of Muslims who don’t like beef,prefer goat, lamb or chicken . Why create a fus for everything. OK see if you can ban the export of beef.

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