The country’s Hindi heartland, Uttar Pradesh, led by BJP’s Yogi Adityanath along with the problems of unemployment, poor health system and low education rate is now facing the challenge of stray cattle. With the cases of lynchings, mob violence over cow transportation and Yogi government’s crackdown on the state’s cow slaughterhouses, the growing menace of stray cattle is becoming a new challenge for both the rural and urban population of the state. In the last two months, there have been several incidents in which the villagers have locked stray cattle in school buildings or in other government buildings to prevent cattle from destroying their crops.
After receiving criticism over the stray cattle causing road accidents by loitering on the highways and destroying farmers’ fields, the Yogi government is now resorting to different ways to prevent cows from creating menace. In a recent incident, Uttar Pradesh’s officials are now converting school land into Gaushala(cow shed).
Turning Playground into cow shed
According to The Indian Express, in UP’s Balrampur district, the local administration officials on January 2, informed the Fazl-e-Rahmaniya Inter College School to vacate their playground as it will now be used to construct a ‘Gaushala’ (cow shelter) as it is part of a government plot.
The Lekhpal for Pachperwa area, Ramesh Chandra, claims that the school land belongs to the Gram Sabha. “The land belongs to the gram sabha and we have measured it. We will file a police complaint against the school if they refuse to vacate the land,” he said. Tulsipur Sub-Divisional Magistrate Vishal Yadav says that the school started using the land as it was left vacant for years.
The school official claim that the plot on which the playground is built is not the government’s property. As per them, the 2.5 acre plot is registered under the school’s name. Meanwhile, the district administration told the school that the land belongs to the Gram Sabha. It further said that of the school does not vacate the land an FIR would be lodged against the school administration.
Mohd Ismail, principal of the government-aided school, said, “During a visit to Balrampur in 1977, N D Tewari had donated the land to the school after he was impressed by the students’ performance. We have been using this land for more than 40 years. It is registered in the school’s name in Khasra Khatauni documents,” he said while talking to The Indian Express.
He further said that they have written to the district magistrate to seek their intervention into the matter. He claims that no notice was given to the school regarding the construction of Gaushala. The principal further said that the school has around 1,500 students from different sections of society and they will suffer if they lose their playground.
One of the school teacher, Abul Kazim Khan, who has been teaching at the school for 11 years, said that the school officials along with the students also held a peaceful agitation on Saturday and Monday to protest against the recent move. The government should not let the education of children get affected by such moves, he added.
Claiming that the move is directed to target the school, the manager of the school, Shariq Rizvi, said that there were several other vacant plots in the village. “The authorities can build the Gaushala anywhere. Why are they taking away land which is being used by the school? Several of our students have represented the state in sports, two had recently represented Uttar Pradesh in volleyball. Why should the administration take away career opportunities from them?” he lamented.
The Logical Indian Take
UP Government needs to think of a different solution than to use the schools to tackle the menace of stray cattle. It first started with students being evicted out of school by the villagers to keep the cows inside. This is a problem of their own making, the rhetoric of cows which started on communal line is now affecting everyone – from farmers to common men. UP needs education more than anything and to avoid students of their playground gives an insight into the administration’s priority list.
Also Read: Uttar Pradesh: Fed Up Of Cows Eating Crops, Farmers Lock Stray Cows In Govt Schools