AMID THE nationwide debate over demands to ban cow slaughter and rising incidents of violence by gau rakshaks, Minister of State (Home) Hansraj G Ahir has said the government is considering a proposal to set up “cow sanctuaries” and start a ‘Project Cow’ on the lines of ‘Project Tiger’.
“Humne yeh socha tha, aur kaafi din se hum is pe kaam bhi kar rahe hai… Gau hatya ko rok lagana hai, usme sabse bada adanga yeh aata hai ki inko paaley kaun… Iske liye ek gau abhyaaranya banane ki zaroorat hai aur chara… uska bhi collection karna padega. Har state mein honi chahiye… hum gau hatya par rok lagana sambhav hoga (We have been considering a proposal, and have been working on it for some days now… We need to stop cow slaughter, but the biggest stumbling block is who will take care of these cows… We need to make cow sanctuaries for this, and need to make arrangements for fodder also. Each state should have cow sanctuaries… Then we will be successful in stopping cow slaughter),” said Ahir, in an interview to The Indian Express on Thursday.
“Isse hoga yeh ki kisan budhi gai ko bechne nahi jayega… Yeh ek paryay ho sakta hai, jaise Tiger Project…ek Cow Project bana sakte hain (This will stop farmers from selling old cows… A Project Cow, on the lines of Project Tiger, can be started… This can be an option),” said Ahir, a BJP MP from Chandrapur in Maharashtra.
“I have discussed the matter with the environment ministry and we plan to expedite this proposal,” he said, adding that a chara (food) bank can also be set up.
Ahir, who handles Jammu and Kashmir division in the ministry, said security forces have shown restraint while dealing with protesters in the Valley. Referring to the video of a man being tied to an Army jeep, he said it was a one-off incident.
“Forces have been fighting in the Valley for years with restraint. This seems to be a one-off incident and may have been as done as per the requirement of the situation. Kashmir is an integral part of India and security forces understand their responsibility. We cannot ask them to sit quietly,” he said.
Ahir is also in charge of the union territory division, including Delhi. Asked about the Delhi government’s allegations that the Centre was stalling their work and several proposals were pending with the hime ministry, Ahir replied: “LG has recently cancelled their office allotment because they used illegal means. How can I clear such files? There is a process for clearing files.”