Mandi-The number of stray cattle on Himachal Pradesh’s roads continues to grow due to the apathy of the state government and those who abandon these animals after they are of no use. It’s leading to stray cattle menace that has now reached an alarming level with two deaths registered within two months.
Other than that, these animals are leading to road accidents in which both commuters, as well as these animals, get hurt. While humans are immediately taken to hospital, these animals are hardly attended.
An 80-year-old man in Ledha area of Mandi district, who was critically injured after a stray bull attacked him on November 1, 2019, died at the Indira Gandhi Medical College, Shimla, on November 5.
No Respite from growing number of #cattle abandoned by people in home district of @CMOFFICEHP #Mandi . Stray cattle leads to road accidents in which both humans and animals get injured. Dashcam footage (near Bhambla) was shared by a local and an HW member.#HimachalPradesh pic.twitter.com/4WMC3BIAKj
— Himachal Watcher (@HimachalW) November 11, 2019
The elderly man was identified as Ishru of Ledha, who hailed from a poor family and worked as a daily wager. He had come to the market for shopping for the wedding of his two granddaughters. Ironically, the grandfather died on the day of the wedding. Though the news of his demise had reached a couple of his family members, it was broken to all only after the conclusion of the wedding.
Previously, on September 8, 2019, a 70-year-old man in Baroha village of Jhanduta Sub-Division, Bilaspur district, was attacked by a stray bull in which he had sustained critical injuries. He succumbed to his injuries on his way to the hospital.
The deceased was identified as Ganga Ram, a resident of Baroh village. On the day of the accident, he was on his way home after visiting a nearby temple.
Most of these cattle are bulls who remain of no use to farmers as tractors and modern machinery is replacing them. These are simply abandoned and adds to a growing population of cattle on the roads.
In a order passed on 7-10-2014, the State High Court, hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by the Bhartiya Govansh Rakshan Sanverdhan Parishad, HP, had directed that all the cattle including cows in M.C. Shimla and Municipal Councils, Nagar Panchayats and Panchayats should have a tag number to make it easy to trace the owner. The court had also directed the government to construct sufficient shelters for stray cattle. However, as usual, the orders didn’t make much difference.
What Does HP Govt Claims About Eradicating Stray Cattle Menace
On the other hand, the Animal Husbandry Minister and Chairman of ‘Gau Seva Aayog’ Virendra Kanwar, in an official statement issued on November 3, 2019, claimed that according to the cattle census of the year 2012, 32107 destitute cows were on the roads. So far 9119 animals have been provided shelter in cow-shelters, Kanwar claimed. It’s pertinent to mention that the census refers to 2012. The number is probably much higher by 2019. Moreover, after the government’s policy to ban beef, abandoning has cows become way more frequent.
The Chairman also claimed that About 146 cow shelters are being operated by NGOs in the state. Cow shelters, cowsheds, cattle ponds, etc. are being constructed for destitute cows at the Panchayati level, he claimed. He also urged the people not to abandon their cows and ensure registration of their animals under the Panchayati Raj Act 2006.
The government claims that it also established ‘Gau Seva Aayog’ on March 1, 2019.
Also, the government had been collecting 15 percent of the income of temple trusts and one rupee Gauvansh cess on sale as per bottle of liquor, from which the amount of Rs. 7.95 crore has been collected in Aayogs account.
Sex-Sorted Semen Facility Center to be set up in Kutlehar Assembly constituency
The State Government has been claiming that it is setting up a Sex-Sorted Semen Facility Center at a cost of Rs. 47.50 crore. In this center, such injections will be prepared for indigenous cow breeds that will produce only female calves. 740 kanals of land have been selected for the establishing Sex-Sorted Semen Facility Center in Lamlahdi of Kutlehar Assembly constituency. The government believes this will reduce the problem of destitute animals on the roads and it will also motivate farmers to adopt livestock activities.
Cow-Sanctuaries, Large Cow Shelters in Himachal Pradesh
The government further claims that cow–sanctuaries and big cow shelters have been established by the Aayog across the state. The foundation stone of cow–sanctuary worth Rs. 1.52 crore have been laid at Kotla Badog in district Sirmaur and similarly the process of setting up ‘Gau Sadan’ is going on in other districts as well. A cow–sanctuary will be constructed at Thanakala Khas in District Una at the cost of Rs. 1.69 crore and Rs. 2.97 crore at Hada-Kudi in District Solan. In addition, an amount of Rs. 77.90 lakh has been released by the Aayog for the fencing of Gaushala operated by the temple trust in Bai Attariyan of district Kangra. With this, the capacity of ‘Gau Sadan’ will be increased to 1000 cows. Land has been selected for the establishment of cow–sanctuaries at Barota Dabwal and Dhara-Tatoh in District Bilaspur. An amount of Rs. 21 lakh rupees has also been released for the construction of four new cow shelters in district Kangra, Mandi and Solan.
The government further claimed that an amount of Rs 1.20 crore has been released by the Aayog for the construction of nine new cow shelters and for the expansion of old cow shelters to provide shelter to the destitute cows of local areas.
However, despite government’s claims of rehabilitating destitute cattle, the number doesn’t seem to be decreasing.
Video: Three Shimla MC Workers Caught Dumping Garbage in Forest, Suspended After Video Shared on Twitter
Shimla- Three sanitation workers of Shimla Municipal Corporation were suspended after a video was posted on social media showing them disposing of a large amount of garbage in a forest area. The incident became an embarrassment for SMC as the video went viral on Twitter and reached Central officials and green activists.
As per the local who recorded the video, on November 22 at about 1:30 PM; he saw garbage being dumped in the forest near SMC parking on the cart-road.
A green activist of Healing Himalaya organization picked the video on Twitter and brought it to the attention of the officials of the Centre government. The organization tagged BK Agarwal, Secretary Lokpal, Govt. of India and IFS officer Parveen Kaswan.
It is so disheartening to see my work being undone near lift Shimla,this is one of the most dirtiest sight and now I know why.
We have been working very very hard to keep up the ever growing population & pollution.#shimlalift@RandeepHooda @deespeak @ParveenKaswan @B_K_AGARWAL pic.twitter.com/BX5FaQmoVp
— healing himalayas (@healinghimalaya) November 23, 2019
Sanjeev Gupta, Secretary, ISCS, Home Ministry, also responded on the video and Tweeted,
“An absolute shocker. Stern action should be taken against these reckless murderers of the environment (most likely working for Shimla MC). Will take it up with the State Govt & Shimla MC.”
It’s pertinent to mention that Healing Himalayas had undertaken a cleaning campaign in the said area a few months back. The organization in its Tweet said,
“It is so disheartening to see our work being undone near lift Shimla.”
The SMC was directed to take action. It was found that the sanitation workers of the SEHB society were dumping about two tons of garbage collected from the lift area during one of its cleanliness campaigns.
However, instead of carrying it up to the road for transportation, they dumped it into the forest. The workers were identified from the video and suspended.
According to the Commissioner, SMC, Pankaj Rai, the Area Supervisor and Sanitary Inspector have been served show-cause notices.
Baddi Dumping Yard Case: Blow to Solan Admin as HC Directs Relocation of Family, Construction of House, Cow-Shelter
Solan-As a blow to the trickery of District Administration, Solan, and the Baddi-Barotiwala-Nalagarh Development Authority (BBNDA), the Himachal Pradesh High Court on November 21, 2019, gave a big relief to the families forced to live in inhuman conditions in Baddi’s Kenduwal. These two authorities had been reluctant to relocate or compensate victim families. They went to the extent of not following the orders of the court. In fact, this case has highlighted the hypocrisy of the government over its own Swachh Bharat campaign.
However, hearing the petition, a bench of Chief Justice L.Narayana Swamy and Justice Jyotsna Rewal Dua on november 21, 2019, passed orders directing the Deputy Commissioner, Solan, to identify a piece of land to relocate the family, provide them with a house, electricity and water connection, and consider construction of cow-shelters for their cattle to the satisfaction of the families. The court also appointed Rajnish Maniktala, a senior advocate as Amicus Curiae to assist the court in this petition. Further, the implementation of Solid Waste Management Rules in the entire state has come under the ambit of this petition, which was filed by Shimla-based Advocate, Deven Khanna.
The BBNDA and Baddi Municipal Council had turned the site at Kenduwal into an illegal dumping yard. The Authority was supposed to construct a Solid Waste Treatment Plant years ago, however, instead, it simply created a dumping yard and violated several environmental laws and guidelines. As per the petition, none of the 36 Conditions mentioned in the Environment Clearance letter are fulfilled by BBNDA. Such grieve environmental violation under the patronage of the state government is a matter of huge concern for the state.
The houses of about 32 members of four families belonging to Gujjar families were located at this site. These families had been living here for over three decades. Creating dumping yard around their habitat had made their lives unbearable as well as unsafe due to unhygienic conditions arising due to this illegal dumping yard.
These families had been running from pillar to post seeking relief. However, none of the state government bodies, district administration, police, or the BBNDA authority listened to their grievance. Eventually, Suleman, on behalf of these families, approaches the court to file a PIL.
About six months ago, the court had eventually asked the Authorities to relocate the family to a piece of land that is located at a considerable distance from the dumping yard.
However, BBNDA defied the orders of the court and, in a bid to allegedly threaten the families, it demolished their cow-sheds last month. Over 80 cattle, including about 40 cows and newborns, were left shelter-less to face winters under the open sky. The families had alleged that officials trespassed and demolished their cow-sheds without showing any orders from any authority. Instead, the officials used police force, including armed jawans, to scare them. Himachal Watcher had published a story regarding the same along with a video of the said demolition being carried out.
Surprisingly, none of the other media (dailies and regional news portals) covered this news. In fact, media hardly showed any interest in this petition ever. It appears, belonging to minority community, the suffering of these Gujjar families did not appeal to anyone except the State High Court.
Through their advocate, Khanna, the families have also filed a contempt petition in the court, which is pending.
Meanwhile, hearing the main petition, the said orders were passed by the court.
“In the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case, we permit the petitioner to approach the Deputy Commissioner Concerned by filing a separate application with a prayer for relocation of his house to the extent of land, which is in his occupation, to any other suitable area to the satisfaction of the petitioner,”
the bench said in its order.
“If such approached by way of application is made to the DC concerned, the said Authority shall consider his request and pass appropriate order at the earlier,”
the bench said.
“It is stated by the learned counsel for the petitioner that the cow-shed, having cattle, was demolished. For this purpose, DC concerned to also look into the matter while considering the application of the petitioner for relocation/construction of house/ow-shed as well as providing electricity and water connection for the decent living of the petitioner,”
the bench directed the DC referring to the act of demolishing petitioner’s cow-shelter.
It’s pertinent to mention that when previously contacted by HW, the DC, Solan, had termed this as a case of encroachment, and had said that these families are not eligible for relocation as they are not covered by any such policy. Considering the indifference of the district administration, the current order has come as a blow to it.
The next hearing has been scheduled for December 16, 2019.
CBI Probe in Kotkhai Gudia Case Under Scanner, Forensic Report Suggests Involvement of More Than One Person
Shimla-Gudia Nyay Manch has demanded fresh probe into the ill-fated 2017 Kotkhai Gudia rape and murder case after new revelations were made in the recent hearing in the case.
The case was closed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) team after booking and arresting a woodcutter for the said crime with a conclusion that it was not a gangrape and only one person was involved. The turn of events left the family of the 16-year-old victim and the people of the state stumped and unsatisfied. Media reports had also challenged the probe.
While CBI claimed to have solved the case after eleven months of investigation, hardly anyone was convinced that a woodcutter could have possibly committed this crime and managed to fool CBI and bribe nine police personals including IG, SP, and DSP to frame wrong people.
The accused police officials, who were booked for the custodial killing of Suraj – one of the six suspects allegedly framed by them, were defending someone, the public suspected. There were many other questions which remained unanswered thus the CBI’s claim failed to convince anyone that justice was done to Gudia.
After a silence of about one year, the inquiry conducted by the CBI is in the public court. During the hearing of the case of custodial death at Chandigarh-based CBI court, forensic experts claimed that there is a possibility that more than one persons were involved in the rape and murder of Gudia.
These forensic experts – HV Acharya, Assistant Director, Forensic Science Laboratory, Gandhinagar, and Hemangi Shah Assistant Director, Forensic Psychological Division, Directorate of Forensic Science, Gandhinagar- had conducted polygraph and Brain Electrical Oscillation Signature Profiling (BEO) tests on the five accused – Rajinder Singh, Lokjan, Deepak, Ashish Chauhan, and Subhash Singh.
During this hearing, they were cross-questioned by the defense counsel, Atvinder Singh.
Singh asked Dr Acharya if he still stands by his observation that the crime in Gudia was conducted by more than one person, Acharya said “Yes” as an affirmative response. Dr Shan also supported Acharya.
A joint observation report was compiled by the two experts and submitted to the CBI.
While their report clearly said that no role of these five accused was observed in Gudia case. Their report had also said that no role of Rajinder was observed in killing of Suraj.
Moreover, the report of these experts has also observed that there was “definite police effort to defend someone”.
The experts stood by their observation that these six accused were arrested and tortured without any direct evidence.
The Gudia Nyay Manch is up in arms again against CBI for an allegedly botched up investigation in the case. The Manch said it would be staging fresh protest against CBI soon.
What is Kotkhai Gudia Case
On July 4, 2017, a 16-year-old girl, who was returning home from her school in Mahasu are of Kotkhai, Shimla, went missing. Her naked body was found in the forest of Halaila on July 6. As per the initial investigation by the police SIT, Gudia was gang-raped and then murdered. The SIT on July 13 arrested six persons claiming that they cracked the case.
However, the family and locals were not convinced that these six accused, five of which were laborers and daily wagers, had committed the crime. The pubic, as well as the media, wasn’t convinced with the theory given by the police SIT. On July 18, public outrage was witnessed after one of these accused was killed in the police custody while locked up at the police station, Kotkhai. The locals pelted stones on the police staff and compelled them to leave the station. The station was then set on fire.
Under huge pressure from the public, then Congress-led state government asked the CBI to investigate the case. By the end of August 2017, CBI had arrested nine police officials including the head of the SIT Zahur H Zaidi, IG, Southern Range, DSP, Theog, Manoj Joshi, and six others for the custodial killing of Suraj. Later, the CBI also booked then Superintendent of Police, Shimla, D W Negi.
In its charge-sheet submitted to the court, the CBI had said that all six accused were falsely framed by the SIT.
The CBI had filed a separate case to investigate rape and murder of Gudia. The CBI team investigated for next eleven months without any success, thereby, facing backlash from the state high court over delay in the investigation. Ultimately, disappointed with the CBI, the court questioned the competence of CBI and asked its Director to appear personally before it.
Immediately after this summon, CBI claimed to have cracked the case in which a woodcutter was arrested. The case was considered to be closed thereafter.
However, doubts remain over botched up CBI investigation in the case.
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