Friday, June 08, 2007

North India cut off; Cows threaten to launch their own moovement

Protesters from a bovine group demanding special privileges blocked roads and damaged railway tracks across north India, stranding thousands on the fifth day of protest that has killed 23 cattle.

Violence erupted across the cow belt after buffaloes began demanding they be declared cows, which entitles them to temple jobs, respect in the society and a shield against slaughter. Many states in India have laws against cow-slaughter, while buffaloes are slaughtered for their meat, popularly called buff or bada.

The demand has been opposed by cows, who fear they will lose their own identity and of course the privileges, leading to violent clashes between the two bovine communities. Road traffic on National Highway 2 to Kolkata remained disrupted for the fifth day on Thursday.

On Wednesday, a buffalo mob stood on the railway tracks between Unnao and Kanpur, throwing train services out of gear. “Services of about 25 trains have been affected,” B.P. Pandey, a railway official, said in New Delhi. “Our engineers have reached the spot, but the buffaloes are not allowing them to restore the tracks.”

Foreign tourists, coming to Delhi from Varanasi, are stuck in a village, with little to eat. They fear the big, horned buffaloes but are also amused. “Whenever we read about India or watched a film based on India, we saw cows obstructing traffic on the road. I always wanted to see how you guys manage. But this is more than I ever imagined. Buffaloes on railway track, thousands of them blocking it for three days! This is amazing,” Steve, an American tourist, told our reporter before he asked him to share his (reporter’s) sandwich.

Some people tried to trek to the nearest road, but that too has been jammed for almost a week. The state has come to a standstill.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh appealed for calm in UP and neighbouring Bihar states yesterday, urging all animals to desist from violence. He said the animal parliament would discuss the issue once the state’s animal government sends a proposal to it.

“Just leave us humans out of it. Do not make them suffer,” he appealed.

Earlier in the day, the prime minister met leaders of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, who support cows in this battle against buffaloes. Senior BJP leaders also held a meeting at the residence of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to discuss the crisis in the cow belt. They asked UP Animal Husbandry Minister Murli Manohar Sharma to participate in the talks with the buffaloes.

A senior BJP leader said: “Sharma seems to be caught in a Catch-22 situation as appeasing the buffaloes will upset the cows who are stoutly opposed to their demand to be included in an affirmative action plan which will give them access to the benefits of being a cow.”
Buffalo Bachao Andolan chief B.D. Bhains Lala had earlier rejected any talks with the BJP government saying he did not expect justice from this government. “They made a false promise to us. We voted for them. But now they are showing their true colours. Their leaders are named after cow-supporters. Lal Krishna, Atal Behari, Murli Manohar... even Manmohan, for that matter... All are different names of the same person, the Mathura leader Krishna, who is responsible for giving cows special status.”

Cows have also given an ultimatum to the human government that if the government failed to remove the roadblock and control violence by buffaloes they will hit the street to take on buffaloes. Social and political organisations of the cows have expressed their strong resentment over the buffaloes’ forceful entry into their pens and targeting cows during the ongoing agitation.
Meanwhile, experts said buffaloes must realise that they cannot force their entry into the special status category. “If you are born a buffalo, you are born a buffalo. One cannot change one’s caste. Tomorrow, if a dog demands special status, should the government listen to its barking,” asked Ghoda Lala Rukh, a progressive thinker horse.

“That horse is talking udder nonsense. Dog is canine. Buffaloes and cows are both bovine. Man drinks milk from the udders of both. Buffaloes are just dark in complexion. Should we discriminate on the basis of colour? Are we living in colonised Africa? We have better habits. Cows will eat anything. We are discerning eaters; you will never spot a buffalo scrounging for food in a waste-bin. We bathe almost daily. And our milk is supposed to be better. In spite of all this, cows get all the attention. This will not be tolerated any longer,” B.D. Bhains Lala retorted.


pOlO said...

Hilarious! Tells a lot about the Gujjar clash!

clit.chatting said...

Moo-ch ado about nothing!
Hello sirji!