The Centre plans to start “Project Cow”, similar to its Project Tiger, to protect the animal from slaughter, Minister of State for Home Affairs Hansraj G Ahir said on Thursday. The minister told The Indian Express that cow sanctuaries will be set up under such a scheme.
“We have been considering a proposal and have been working on it for some time now. We need to stop cow slaughter, but the biggest stumbling block is who will take care of these cows,” he told the daily. Ahir believes that setting up sanctuaries for the animals and providing fodder will stop farmers from selling old cows for slaughter.
“I have discussed the matter with the Environment Ministry, and we plan to expedite this proposal,” said the Bharatiya Janata Party MP from Chandrapur, Maharashtra. Despite Ahir’s statement, details of the actual plan and what it proposes are unavailable.
His remarks come at a time when there are a growing number of reports of so-called gau rakshaks using violence to demand a ban on cow slaughter and beef. The call to impose a complete ban on the animal’s meat has been gaining momentum, with the Gujarat government amended its cow protection law to make the punishment for slaughtering cows a life term. On April 4, a dairy farmer in Alwar, Rajasthan, was lynched by a mob that accused him of smuggling cattle.