Monday, May 08, 2017

May 10 Dalit rally to ask 182 Gujarat MLAs to fix responsibility for death of cows by consuming plastics

The replica of cow to be on display at May 10 rally
By Our Representative
Even as the Gujarat state assembly meets on Tuesday for a day to "endorse" the Goods and Services Tax (GST) for the state, a grassroots Dalit rights organization of Surendranagar district, about 100 km from Ahmedabad, has asked 182 MLAs to answer a pointed question: Who is responsible for slaughter of cows by forcing them to eat plastics?
Navnirman Trust, led by well-known Dalit activist Natubhai Parmar – who shot into prominence last year for unloading a truckload of cow carcasses in front of the Surendranagar district office to protest against thrashing of four Dalit youths in Una by cow vigilantes on suspicion of cow slaughter – will be holding a rally and a public meeting in Vadhwan town of the district on May 10 to seek an answer to this query.
Wonders Parmar, “Can the Gujarat Assembly commit a sin, as grave as cow slaughter? Well, that is a public charge levelled directly to the 182 MLA of Gujarat State Assembly for failing to protect gauchars, or grazing lands, a main reason for thousands of cows in Gujarat who are left with no other option but to eat plastic and die an unnatural death.”
The unique programme would have a life size model of cow with 182 kilograms of plastic in its belly, taken out of cow carcasses by Dalits who do the hereditary job of skinning dead them. May 10 happens to be Buddha Purnima day, revered by Dalits.
According to Parmar, “Recently, Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, following the results of UP elections, declared life imprisonment for persons involved in cow slaughter. We demand that the cause of the cow death should be ascertained for every cow through autopsy, and in case of cow death is found dead due to unnatural reasons, the owner must be prosecuted.”
Sharply criticizing politics around cow, which he says is the main reason “for increased violence on Dalits and the poor Muslims”, Parmar claims, “Thousand times more cows die in Gujarat due to plastic eating than by being slaughtered. Unless and until gauchar lands are reinstated to what they were in 1960, at the time of the formation of Gujarat, increasing number of cows will die eating plastic”.
Plastic taken out of dead cows' belly
According to Parmar, “Lord Krishna grazed his cows. The Kauravas-Pandavas and the Hindu-Muslim kings captured enemy cows, but never in the history has it been recorded that they fed cows with plastic. So, why do cows of progressive and vibrant Gujarat eat plastic?”
Raising controversy, Parmar alleges, “We have seen that both in rural and urban areas the cows devour even the human feces. It is unfortunate that even after 70 years of independence, manual scavengers are engaged in handling human waste hand. But our gaumatas are not as fortunate as scavengers.”
Parmar continues, “While the scavengers handle human waste, gaumatas are found to be eating human waste. Due to untouchability, people throw from a distance the leftover food, called valu, in baskets of scavengers called, but few people know that is waste is often fed to the cows.”
“The land revenue code provided an acre of land for 40 cattle as gauchar or grazing land along with a village pond for cattle. Although the number of cattle has increased in the state, gauchars have depleted”, says Parmar, adding, “One needs to recall the Charotar Sarvasangrah, a 1954 chronicle, which makes an interesting reading: It says, the Muslim Nawab donated 1,000 bighas of land for cattle grazing to 300-year-old cattle shelters or panrapols of Khambhat.”
Gujarat’s biggest Dalit rights organization Navsarjan Trust founder Martin Macwan, who has backed Parmar’s programme, says, “It would demand that in each of the Gujarat village the Gauchar land as they were in 1960 be regularized along with village ponds." 
He adds, "We will display 182 glass bottles filled with plastic, recovered from the cow belly, and deliver them to 182 MLAs of Gujarat assembly to remind them of what has become of cows in Gujarat. Such bottles will also be delivered to saints and institutions dedicated in serving cows.”

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