India's Cow Crisis Part 1: Nepal bears the brunt of India's cow vigilantism -Jitendra
-Down to Earth
Hounded by cow vigilantes and trade restrictions, farmers in Uttar Pradesh's border areas abandon their unproductive cattle in Nepalese villages creating havoc there
Residents of Semri village in Uttar Pradesh's Sitapur district drew a plan for "invasion" on April 2, 2018. They called a meeting of farmers and agriculture labourers to take a call on the stray cattle menace.
With the state closing down illegal slaughter houses in the last three-four years and cow vigilantes raiding cattle traders, there have been widespread reports of a surge in stray cattle. Besides crowding urban areas, it has become a major threat to farmers as cattle raid their standing crops.
The meeting in Semri village was one of the rare ones in the village, attracting more than thousand people. Residents say this indicated the intensity of the cattle menace. After heated discussions they all agreed on something extraordinary: Leaving the stray cattle in neighbouring Nepal.
Residents collected Rs 37,000 from households, hired 22 tractors and loaded 255 stray cattle into them. In a caravan, they headed to the border. “More than 40 motorcycles carrying over 100 residents escorted it to the forest areas bordering Nepal,” says Jayshankar Mishra, a villager who organised the whole event. All of them wielded weapons to meet any untoward incidents. As they moved through villages, there were local residents ensuring that the cattle were not abandoned in their village.
Finally, the cattle were abandoned in the Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary, a strategic connecting point between Dudhwa National Park and Nepal’s Bardia National Park. When they started offloading the cattle at the Sal-Teak-rich forest, people from a nearby village Gajiapur came out and protested. Villagers caught offloaded cattle and tied them to nearby railway tracks.
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