Famliy of the cow protection activist who allegedly committed suicide demanding “rashtra maata” status for cow on Thursday, finally claimed his body on Friday afternoon, after Rajkot district collector gave a written assurance to look into the demands of the activists. Meanwhile, a bandh called in response to the demand, drew mixed response but passed off without any major incident.
After Hira Lambariya (35) died at 7:05 pm on Thursday, activists of Gauraksha Ekta Samiti (cow protection unity committee) refused to shift his body for post-mortem. They also booed away Dr. Vallabh Kathiria, chairman of Gujarat Gau Seva Ayog and Gauchar Vikas Board and former Congress MP Kunvarji Bavaliya who rushed to the PDU General Hospital, where the group were admitted, after learning about Lambariya’s death last night.
The district administration tried to persuade the activists till late night but to nothing was achieved. “The family of the man was convinced to claim the body but activists protested. We resumed our efforts this morning. The Committee came up with charter of their 16 demands. I said since most of their demands were policy matters, I cannot give any commitment but gave them written assurance that government will look into them positively. After that, the family claimed the body,” said Rajkot district 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 taluak of Rajkot. His last rites were performed under heavy police protection in the village late in the evening.
The charter of demands of the outfit included rashtra maata or mother of the nation status for cow, protection to cow protection activists, a martyr status to Lambariya, resignation of Dr. Kathiria and strengthening cow protection law in the state among others.
Lambariya was among eight men who attempted mass suicide by consuming pesticide inside the Rajkot district collector office premises on Thursday, demanding rashtra maata status for cow. While Lambariya died, the remaining seven are undergoing treatment at a private hospital. The collector said that they are stable and would be under medical observation for one more day.
Meanwhile, bandh called by the little known outfit drew mixed response. Eastern parts of Rajkot city remained partially closed while the bandh was not much effective 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 like Morbi, Gir Somnath, Junagadh, Gir Somnath etc in Saurashtra and protesters were detained.