Vigilantes quiet as over 800 cows die in shelter homes in Patna

Death rate of animals in the shelter homes is increasing due to fodder shortage and lack of medical care | Pixabay

Cow vigilante groups who indulge in assaulting suspected cattle smugglers are strangely silent over the pathetic conditions of bovines kept in the Kanji houses (cattle shelter homes) in Patna, Bihar, where over 800 animals have died in the last two years.

The situation is so grim that the shelter homes are facing fodder shortage and lack of medical care. According to media reports, as many as 872 animals, majority of them cows, have died at the two Kanji houses in Patna in the last two years.

Out of 2,439 stray animals sent to two shelters in the past two years, 530 cows and calves died at Phulwarisharif Veterinary College-based shelter in 11 months and 342 animals died at Sri Krishna Goshala in Didarganj locality in Patna.

“Most of the animals brought to these shelter centres were in critical condition after consuming plastic bags and other harmful things,” Dr Subodh Kumar who is posted at the Veterinary college farm house was quoted as telling the media.

Officials claim that corruption is the primary reason why animal shelter homes are in trouble. In view of this, authorities have ordered an investigation into the matter.

“We have formed a three-member committee to inquire into the death of a large number of animals lodged at Kanji Houses. The committee has been told to submit the report within a week,” Patna mayor Sita Sahu said on Monday (November 11).

Sahu said the committee will inquire about various aspects such as under what circumstances the animals died, their health condition and prevailing arrangements at the Kanji houses. The committee has also been asked to suggest measures to prevent animal deaths in future.

“We have taken the matter seriously and are looking into the matter,” Patna District Magistrate Kumar Ravi said on Monday.

The animal deaths continue despite the state government spending around ₹80 lakh on the maintenance of Kanji houses. The Kanji houses also collected around ₹64 lakh as fine from owners of animals set free on the streets. Each owner was fined ₹5,000.

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Vigilantism “for polarisation”

The silence of the cow vigilante groups is questionable as around dozen incidents have been reported in the state where suspected cattle smugglers/beef traders were either thrashed or lynched in public.

The hyperactive cow vigilante groups were in action after the chief minister Nitish Kumar joined BJP in July 2017 after breaking his two-year-old association with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).

Barely a week after Kumar assumed power, a cow-vigilante group publicly assaulted a truck driver and two others on the suspicion of transporting beef in August 2017. Following this, in the same month, another group assaulted three people for allegedly carrying cattle for slaughter in Vaishali district of Bihar. The attackers dragged three men out of the vehicle carrying a bull and thrashed them badly in full public view, leaving them severely injured.

“The BJP people have nothing to do with the ‘Gau Matas’ (mother cows). They have been raising the issue just for political gains and for polarisation of votes,” commented Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) spokesperson Bhai Birendra.

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