MP: Ahead Of Polls, CM Shivraj Chouhan Announces Cow Welfare Ministry
In the poll-bound state of Madhya Pradesh, cows are at the centre of political campaigning by different parties. Days after Congress leader Kamal Nath promised construction of cow shelters in every panchayat if voted to power, the state’s Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced that his government would set up a cow ministry for better care and wellness of cows in the state. In an event organized in Khajuraho on Sunday, September 30, Chauhan said “I have reason to believe that the Cow Protection Board in the state should be turned into a full-fledged ministry,” reported NDTV.
Cow Welfare Ministry to be set up
The cow ministry will reportedly replace the existing Madhya Pradesh Gaupalan Evam Pashudhan Samvardhan Board. The CM emphasised that the separate ministry will be ideal for the welfare of cows in the state citing that in the current arrangements there is a shortage of proper funds. If this happens, Madhya Pradesh will be the second state with a ministry of cow welfare after Rajasthan. Chauhan also urges people in his speech to keep a gaushala with 2-3 cows in every house to bring a potential revolution as reported in The Hindustan Times. Reportedly, Jain monk Vidyasagar Maharaj, who is renowned for his cow protection advocacy was also present at the event.
Cow Protection Board chairman and cabinet minister Akhileshwaranand Giri welcomed the announcement. He has earlier recommended the same on the pretext that such a move will help and inspire the future generation to take care of cows as the CM does at his home. According to him working this whole idea relies on the lines of “happiness department”, and it will help in the creation of a “Golden Madhya Pradesh.” He added that the move would set a precedent for other states.
Congress spokesperson Narendra Saluja in a tweet alleged that the BJP did not take any steps to build cow shelters during the last 15 years when the party was in power.
सवर्ण आंदोलन को अर्बन नक्सलीयो ने भड़काया , ऐसा कहकर कैलाश विजयवर्गीय अपनी प्रदेश व केन्द्र सरकार पर ख़ुद ही सवालिया निशान लगा रहे है….
— Narendra Saluja (@NarendraSaluja) September 30, 2018
Madhya Pradesh in 2017 became the first Indian state to set up a cow sanctuary at Agar Malwa district, which is spread over 472 hectares and has a capacity for housing 6,000 cows. The Board who looks after the sanctuary also runs 600 cows shelters across the state. Reportedly, both the sanctuary and the shelters have been operating under financial constraints.
While animal protection is a positive step forward, over the past few years, cow-vigilance and cow-related violence have been on the rise where incidents of mob lynching on suspicion of cow-slaughter are in the news across the country. 28 people were killed and 124 injured, between 2010 and 2017 according to Reuters Report. The self-proclaimed cow-protectors upon mere suspicion have assaulted and murdered innocent people, and still, they manage to escape. Supreme Court on the increasing cases of mob lynching had said that India should not be allowed to descend into “mobocracy” and asked states to ensure that nobody resorts to vigilantism.