BJP leader Subramanian Swamy on Sunday called for a cess to be imposed for funding gaushalas across the country. “In 1962 when China attacked India, an appeal was made to contribute to the defence fund. That is the mood of the country now. If we ask to pay Re 1 on petrol for gaushalas, the country will be flooded with money.” Swamy was speaking at a national conference for cow protection organised by the Virat Hindustan Sangam at the Bombay Stock Exchange on Dalal Street on Sunday.
He added, “Cow production cess will be applied to all, Hindus and Muslims, since we tax everybody equally.” Three cows stood at the entrance of the country’s premier stock exchange as gaurakshaks, businessmen, spiritual leaders, politicians, senior citizens and small-time cow shelter owners attended the conference. “Gaurakshaks are performing a great service. We must give them a certification. A national cadre called Gaurakshaks of Hindustan must be made,” said the BJP leader.
Minister of State for Home Affairs Hansraj Ahir, among the dignitaries at the conference, said it is difficult for farmers to afford old cows which stop milking. “I proposed to use 7 crore hectare of forest land for cow sanctuary. If we want to protect cows, a demand should be made to the government. People should ask the government to create a cow sanctuary just like a tiger sanctuary,” said Ahir.
He added that gaushalas are overflowing and a farmer will be forced to sell his cow if no other provision is made to safeguard them. “We have raised enough awareness about cow slaughter. Now we should generate forest grass as fodder for cows,” added Ahir. Several speakers gave suggestions about how to protect cows. Hrishikesh Mafatlal, vice chairman of Arvind Mafatlal Group, said that companies must conduct research on cow products and make efforts for cow safety under their corporate social responsibility.
Swami Arihant, founder of Urjaa World Foundation, proposed that compulsory chapters be introduced in school curricula on cow protection. “We don’t need andolans, we need education. Our children have started going to convent schools and western culture is prevailing. We need to introduce chapters on cow and its protection,” he said.
From claims that cows can cure advanced cancer, epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease, to how best to tap the export market for milk and on making cow the national animal, a variety of topics about cows were discussed at the conference. “Cow is the national animal in Nepal and its slaughter and marketing is banned. No other animal has received this stature in our scriptures,” said Deep Upadhyay, Nepal’s Ambassador to India who attended the event.