Family members of Hira Lambariya, the cow protection activist who died after he consumed pesticide in front of the collector’s office in Rajkot, finally claimed his body Friday afternoon after the district collector gave them a written assurance to look into the demand for “rashtra mata” status for cow.
Meanwhile, a bandh called in support of the demand in Rajkot drew mixed response and the day passed off without any major incident.
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The family members and the activists of Gauraksha Etka Samiti earlier had refused to shift the body of Hira Lambariya for post-mortem and booed away Vallabh Kathiria, chairman of Gujarat Gau Seva Aayog and Gauchar Vikas Board, and former Congress MP Kunvarji Bavaliya who rushed to PDU General Hospital after learning about Lambariya’s death Thursday night.
The district administration through the night tried to persuade the activists to claim the body, however, they remained unmoved.
“The family of the man was convinced to claim the body, but activists protested. We resumed our efforts this morning. The outfit came up with a charter of their 16 demands. I said since most of their demands were policy matters, I cannot give any commitment, but gave them a written assurance that the government will look into those demands. After that, the family claimed the body,” said Rajkot Collector Manisha Chandra.
Eventually, Lambariya’s family claimed the body from PDU Hospital at around 2 pm and took it to their native village Gadhadiya in Jasdan taluka of Rajkot. His last rites were performed under heavy police deployment late in the evening.
Meanwhile, a bandh call given by the outfit drew mixed response. Eastern parts of Rajkot city remained partially closed, while effect of the bandh was not visible elsewhere. A mobile shop was allegedly vandalised on Raiya Road and police said that some persons were detained.
In Jasdan, cow protection activists took out a rally and submitted a memorandum to local mamlatdar.
There were reports of protests from other districts such as Morbi, Gir Somnath, Junagadh and Gir Somnath.