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Punjab: Dairy farmers, cattle traders protest against cow vigilantes

The farmers, who named their protest ‘Sarkar Jagao, Dairy Bachao’, marched to the office of local Jagraon SAD MLA S R Kler and ‘gifted’ stray cows to him.

punjab, punjab cows, punjab cow vigilantes, punjab protests, punjab gau rakshaks, punjab protests, ludhiana protests, dairy farmers protest, india news, punjab news Protest by the Dairy farmers at Jagraon in Ludhiana. (Express Photo by Gurmeet Singh)

A large number of dairy farmers, cattle traders and transporters Thursday gathered at Punjab’s largest cattle market in Jagraon to protest against gau rakshaks (cow vigilantes), who, they alleged, were harassing them in the name of cow protection. The protesters also blamed the SAD-BJP government for allegedly shielding cow vigilantes.

The farmers, who named their protest ‘Sarkar Jagao, Dairy Bachao’, marched to the office of local Jagraon SAD MLA S R Kler and ‘gifted’ stray cows to him. They tied the cows at the MLA’s office and told him to take care of them with the ‘cow cess’ collected by the government.

The demands of the protesters included FIRs against cow vigilantes, dissolution of Punjab Gau Sewa Commission and replacement of NoC system with veterinarian’s health certificate for cattle transportation.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Daljit Singh, president, Progressive Dairy Farmers Association (PDFA), said, “The dairy farmers in Punjab are incurring a loss of almost Rs 2,500 crore annually as prices of cattle have fallen from Rs 1.25 lakh (per head) to Rs 50,000-60,000. This loss is further aggravated due to the fact that none from other states or countries is ready to come to Punjab to buy cattle due to a new NoC (no objection certificate) rule. Earlier, a health certificate from a veteriarian was enough to transport the cattle. We want that the NOC system should be dissolved and the earlier rule is brought back.”

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The farmers also demanded that the Punjab Gau Sewa Commission led by Kimti Bhagat be also dissolved. “The cow vigilantes from Shiv Sena, Gau Raksha Dal, Bajrang Dal and others are constantly harassing us because they enjoy support from this government-backed commission.

They said the number of stray cattle is increasing in the state as the cows are not moving out of Punjab now. “When the government is collecting crores as cow cess, it is their responsibility to manage strays, which we gifted to the MLA today. Despite the fact that we have submitted concrete evidence against cow vigilantes to the chief minister as well, no action is being taken,” said Daljit Singh. Meanwhile, Jagraon MLA Kler said he will forward the complaints of the farmers to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’.

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“Jagraon is the largest cattle market in Punjab and farmers here are facing issues. I will forwardi their memorandum to PM Modi as is their request,” said Kler.

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The Indian Express in its reports dated August 7 highlighted that how a trader has to pay Rs 200 per cow or Rs 2,000 per truck (with ten cows) to transport cattle out of Punjab. This money is being extorted through a well-organized extortion racket being run by cow vigilantes.

First published on: 12-08-2016 at 04:11 IST
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