ALIGARH, UP: Unhappy over stray cows destroying their crops, farmers in the district are driving them away and locking them up in government buildings, especially in Iglas and Khair tehsils.
The development comes at a time when Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has directed the officials concerned to make immediate arrangements for proper care of stray cows.
He has also ordered clearing of grazing grounds in different parts of the state from encroachments.
During the last 48 hours, the district authorities have had to deal with locals, mostly belonging to villages falling under Iglas and Khair tehsils, driving away the stray cattle to compounds of different government buildings, including schools and hospitals.
Unconfirmed reports said several schools in the area have been closed as farmers turned the compounds into temporary cow shelters.
District Magistrate Chandra Bhushan Singh and Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Ajay Kumar Sahni held an emergency meeting of district officials to take stock of the situation and prevent it from going out of hand.
“We have held meetings with farmers’ representatives and cautioned them against taking law in their hands by forcibly shepherding their cows into government buildings,” the DM said.
“We will take punitive action against any person who displays cruel behavior towards these stray animals or tries to confine them in any unauthorized area,” he warned.
Arrangements for establishing cow shelters in every village panchayat are being taken up on a war footing, he asserted.
The SSP has announced that FIRs will be lodged against anyone who abandons his/her cattle after it crosses its milk production stage.
In a related incident earlier this week, several Gau Rakshaks had attacked and pelted with stones government contract vehicles which were transporting the stray cattle from temporary shelters to the main government cow shelter at Tappal.
SP Rural Mohanlal Patidar told PTI that one cow which was being transported in a truck had died after some youths forcibly stopped the truck by indulging in brick batting along Aligarh-Tappal highway.
Despite efforts to convince them that these cows were being transported officially and were not being taken for slaughter, the youths continued with their violent protest.
The district authorities here have tightened security arrangements following reports of escalating tension between farmers and local authorities over stray cattle which according to the farmers are now posing serious threats to their crops. PTI