Amid a string of attacks on members of the minority community allegedly by cow vigilantes, a Muslim man in Gujarat has announced to sit on a 48-hour fast from July 20 to “spread the message of cow protection and communal harmony”. Twenty-seven-year-old Jabar Jat, a cattle rearer from Ludbaay village of Nakhatrana taluka in Kutch district, would launch the fast outside the collector’s office in Bhuj, over 300 kms from Ahmedabad.
In a letter sent to the collector recently, he demanded that the government provide ‘gauchar’ (grazing land) in each taluka of Kutch district, so that cows don’t have to eat plastic and garbage. Jat, who himself owns 16 cows, also demanded that the government provide subsidy on the purchase of bullocks. He also want the government to provide 50 per cent subsidy to all the cow shelters (gau-shala).
“Though we are Muslims, we respect cows as much as Hindus do. We are pained to see a stray cow eating garbage. In Kutch, a large number of Muslims have been rearing cows for livelihood since centuries. However, attempts are being made in recent times to portray Muslims in a bad light in the name of cow protection,” Jat told reporters. “Hence, to spread the message of communal harmony as well as that of cow protection, I have announced to sit on a two-day fast from July 20. I want the government to do something concrete for the conservation of stray cows. The government should buy cow dung and urine from farmers to encourage them in keeping even non-milching cows,” he said.
On the recent incidents of lynching allegedly carried out by cow protectors in some parts of the country, Jat advised them to rear cows if they were concerned about the animal. “I wonder why gau-rakshaks (cow protectors) never say or do anything for cows, which are dying due to consumption of plastic and garbage. Instead of just attacking innocent people, these gau-rakshaks should rear at least one cow each, if they are at all concerned over their protection,” he added.