UP: FIR Against Farmers After Stray Cattle Herded Into School; Union to Hold Protest

Farmers say the Adityanath government’s cow protection moves have failed on the ground, leaving them to bear the worst brunt in the form of crop damage and loss of lives

Farmer Protest

Lucknow: Police in Amroha in Uttar Pradesh have lodged an FIR against 16 named and 20 unidentified persons for allegedly herding stray cattle inside a government primary school after allegedly breaking open the lock on the school’s gate in Karan Khal village in Hasanpur police station area January 8 morning.

By the time a team of the district administration and police reached the school on January 9, the animals had been led out of the school premises.

Following an inquiry, an FIR was lodged under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, Station House Officer of Hasanpur police station, Rajendra Singh Pundir, told reporters. No one has been arrested so far.

The police officer said that on getting information, he, along with the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, went to the school, but the animals had been removed by then. “We conducted an inquiry, during which we recorded the statements of several local residents. After the allegations were found true, we decided to lodge an FIR in the matter because despite warning, the villagers herded stray animals inside the school premises,” he said, alleging that the animals had been brought from the village and neighbouring areas to “disturb the atmosphere” of the district.

However, the have farmers alleged that the authorities have paid no attention to the issue of stray cattle despite repeated complaints.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has reportedly directed officials that stern action be taken against those who had locked up the animals in a government building, as well as against owners of the cattle.

Commenting over the police action against farmers, Rampal Singh, Bharatiya Kisan Union district president in Amroha, told NewsClick: “The administration is harassing farmers by misusing power. Farmers have been dying due to cold while guarding their crops from stray cattle at night. On the other side, if they survive the cold wave, the administration is taking legal action against them. If this continues, every farmer of the state will be in jail because we are all suffering due to the stray cattle menace. When farmers do not get the input cost from farming, they have no option other than locking the animals, as they are completely destroying crops.”

At least four farmers, who were staying overnight in fields to guard their crops against stray cattle have allegedly died of cold in Uttar Pradesh. A deceased farmer’s family members who NewsClick spoke to, claimed there was no arrangement for stray cattle in their respective areas and that farmers spend nights in makeshift huts to keep an eye on stray cattle, with some losing their lives in the biting cold.

Meanwhile, tired of stray cattle destroying their crops, farmers in Sambhal district blocked the Meerut-Badaun highway near Dhanipur for 30 minutes. The local police have registered a case against at least 13 named and 50 unknown for blocking the highway and creating an atmosphere of chaos.

The farmers shouted slogans against the administration, saying that the government had promised to end the stray cattle menace, but nothing happened. The cattle were damaging their crops and some had even attacked villagers, they added.

“Poor farmers are forced to remain on guard all through the night or risk losing their food grain, which is meant for their own subsistence. Farmers do not have any option other than locking them in school or blocking highways to show their resistance as farming is our only means for survival,” said a BKU leader.

Pointing out the input costs of farmers, All India Kisan Sabha leader Brijlal Yadav told NewsClick that “A marginal farmer spends Rs 8,000-17,000 on a crop cycle and recovers nothing, not even the input cost. Farming has turned into a loss-making business due to the stray cattle menace, unseasonal rains and faulty policies of the government, forcing farmers to shift into other fields.”

Ever since BJP leader Adityanath has come to power, protection of cows has been a priority of the UP government, he added.

The Adityanath government imposed a cow cess on the sale of items related to the excise department, such as alcohol, to fund the maintenance of cow shelters. A cess of 0.5% was levied on toll tax collected by government agencies. Besides, the mandi cess was also increased from 1% to 2%.

Meanwhile, the stray cattle menace is giving sleepless nights to farmers in Uttar Pradesh and despite the Adityanath government directing all District Magistrates to rehabilitate abandoned cows in shelters and also announced a budgetary corpus for their protection, the move has failed miserably on the ground – leaving farmers to bear the brunt of the menace.

Translated by Abdul Alim Jafri

Courtesy : newsclick.in



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