Lucknow: Even as the main accused in the Bulandshahr violence is yet to be arrested, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has directed the officials to make immediate arrangements for proper care of stray cows.
The December 3 violence following the discovery of cow carcasses in a field led to the deaths of police inspector Subodh Kumar Singh and college student Sumit Kumar Singh.
The CM has also ordered clearing of grazing grounds in different parts of the state from encroachments.
In a meeting with top officials, the chief minister asked them to set up a committee to consider measures for providing better shelter facilities for stray cows and directed Chief Secretary Anup Chanda Pandey to present recommendations in this regard in a week.
Adityanath said in case of encroachments on grazing land for cattle, immediate steps be taken for its removal and strict action be initiated against the accused, according to an official release issued on Tuesday.
Besides asking officials to make 750 cows shelters at the Zilla Panchayat level functional, the chief minister told them that proper fodder, shed and drinking facilities should be provided to the bovines both in rural and urban areas, it said.
He said the state government has allotted Rs 10 crore to each of the 16 municipal corporations to arrange shelter for stray cows, while Rs 1.2 crore has been given to every district for setting up gaushalas.
Funds for providing shelter for cows in 69 civic bodies have been sanctioned and the relative amount has also been released, but, so far, work has been completed only in Bareilly and Lucknow municipal corporations, Adityanath said.
The instructions were issued after some BJP MLAs informed the CM that stray animals, particularly cows and oxen, were damaging standing crops across the state and were also a major reason for road accidents, an official said.
The CM’s directive on shelter for cows has drawn flak from the opposition parties, which accused the ruling BJP of trying to milk cow protection for political gains in the 2019 Lok Sabha election.
Samajwadi Party legislator Sunil Sajan said his party is "not opposed to cows" but is against the atmosphere that is being created in the name of saving the animals.
"We are not against cows, they should be given proper care and shelter and not left in the open to cause problems not just for people but also for the cattle which often get injured because of the barbed wire fences put up by farmers... there is no one to take care of them," he said.
Actor Naseeruddin Shah had in a recent video alleged that the "death of a cow is more significant than that of a police officer".
He was referring to the December 3 Bulandshahr violence.
One of the main accused, Yogesh Raj, the district convener of the Bajrang Dal, and some others are still at large.
(With PTI inputs)