Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy on Sunday called for a national tax to fund cow shelters across the country. “If we ask [taxpayers] to pay Rs 1 on petrol for gaushalas, the country will be flooded with money,” he said at the National Conference on the Indian Cow, organised by his Virat Hindustan Sangam at the Bombay Stock Exchange, The Indian Express reported.
A number of gaurakshaks were given awards at the event. Among them was retired director general of the Border Security Force, PK Mishra, who the organisers claimed had rescued “40 lakh cows” at the Bangladesh border. An activist for People for Animals, Chetan Sharma, was also felicitated for stopping meat vehicles “all over Maharashtra”, he told The Times of India.
At the BSE, the organisers launched a “Cow Connect” app to help the gaurakshak network grow. The stock exchange also provided space to companies that manufacture soaps, air fresheners and sanitisers using the dung and urine of cows to market their products.
Minister of State for Home Affairs Hansraj Ahir, who was among the dignitaries at the conference, proposed converting India’s 7 crore hectares of forest land to “cow sanctuaries” similar to Project Tiger. “Farmers who wish to abandon old, unproductive cows can leave them there,” he said. “We can also incentivise ‘Chara [Fodder] Banks. We have raised enough awareness about cow slaughter. Now, we should generate forest grass as fodder for cows.”
Spiritual leaders, businessmen, politicians, and owners of cow shelters attended the event. Among the subjects discussed included claims that cows could cure cancer, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy, as well as ways to boost the export market for cow milk and making it the national animal.