… the ‘National Cow Commission’, constituted in February 2019… will also review state laws related to the protection of cows and ensure that all cow slaughter is stopped, including in states where it is still legal, he said…
‘We Will Ban Cow Slaughter In States Where It Is Still Legal’
Bhasker Tripathi, IndiaSpend
September 11, 2019
New Delhi: “The setting up of Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog will lead to conservation, protection and development of cattle population in the country including development and conservation of indigenous breeds. It will result in increased growth of livestock sector which is more inclusive, benefitting women, and small and marginal farmers.”
So how does the Aayog, or the ‘National Cow Commission’, constituted in February 2019, plan to fulfil its aims? By reducing the input cost in agriculture through bio-pesticides and fertilisers made of cow dung and urine, increasing milk yield through genetic modification of low-yield cattle and creating new industrial opportunities, including tourism, centred around the cow, commission chairperson Vallabh Kathiria told IndiaSpend in an interview.
“We will bring science and spirituality together to make cow a necessary tool for social transformation, poverty alleviation and to fight climate change,” he said.
The commission will also review state laws related to the protection of cows and ensure that all cow slaughter is stopped, including in states where it is still legal, he said. The central government announced a nationwide ban on cow slaughter in May 2017. It is, however, still legal in Kerala, West Bengal, Arunachal, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim.
Over the last five years, there has been a rise in crimes relating to cow protection. Since 2012, at least 133 cow-related attacks were reported nationwide, leading to 50 deaths and more than 290 injuries, according to a FactChecker.in database that records such attacks. About 98% or 130 of the crimes recorded in the database took place after 2014.
The commission chairperson dismissed these reports, and expressed confidence that all challenges related to cow protection and promotion would be addressed within the next five years.
Kathiria, 64, who belongs to the landowning Patidar community of Gujarat, is a heart surgeon and the owner of a hospital in Rajkot. He joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the Hindu nationalist parent organisation of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), when he was in sixth grade. He was picked by the Gujarat wing of the BJP in the late 1990s when it was trying to “change its reputation as a city-centric party”, Kathiria said.
Over the last two decades, he has been elected a member of parliament four times until he quit in 2009. He has handled many portfolios as a cabinet minister including health and family welfare, human resource development, and heavy industry and public enterprise.
In 2009, Kathiria was appointed chairperson of the Gauseva Aayog (cow-welfare commission set up in 1999) in Gujarat and worked on various aspects of cow rearing and cow protection. “Due to my successful work in Gujarat, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi established the Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog at the national level, he chose me to be its chairperson,” said Kathiria.
Edited excerpts of his interview: