Build Cow Sanctuaries on Forest Land to Prevent Violence, Proposes Union Minister

Union minister of state for home affairs Hansraj G. Ahir said that setting up cow sanctuaries at the district level can help prevent incidents of cow slaughter and violence related to cow vigilantism.

Minister of state for home affairs Hansraj Gangaram Ahir. Credit: PTI

Minister of state for home affairs Hansraj Gangaram Ahir. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: In order to reduce incidents of cow slaughter, Union minister of state for home affairs Hansraj G. Ahir has suggested that 1,000 hectares of forest land be allocated to establishing cow sanctuaries in each district of the 16 states where the practice is banned.

To take this proposal forward, Ahir is expected to meet environment and forest minister Harsh Vardhan in early September, Indian Express reported.

Even while the BJP-led central government has levied bans and advisories, cow slaughter and violence related to cow vigilantism has continued in various parts of the country, and thus “setting up of sanctuary for cows could be one of the solutions,” Ahir said.

The minister on August 16 outlined his proposal in a letter sent to the environment ministry, stating that seven crore hectare of forest land in India remains unutilised and a mere 1000 hectares of it would be needed for setting up of cow sanctuaries.

Addressing the question of cost involved in this move, Ahir told Indian Express that it would be none and fodder for the animals could be “accumulated from the forest using MGNREGA.” He further added that he had proposed moving gaushalas (cow shelters) across the country to the sanctuaries. “In this way, we will not only stop the sale of non-milching cows to slaughterhouses but also prevent incidents of violence.”

The cow slaughter ban, according to Ahir, has resulted in an increased smuggling of cattle and “police in these states face the problem of lodging them after seizures,” and thus the setting up of cow sanctuaries “may prove to be a boon to deal with such situations.”

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