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By Urmila Devi Dasi
A cow protection movement strongly supported by Muslims has registered Success in Haryana and Rajasthan.
For once the Hindu fundamentalists have been disarmed. This is a result Of involvement of Meo Muslims in the Mewat region of Haryana and adjoining Rajasthan in an inspiring movement to protect the cow.
Tiding over communal rivalries and bigoted mindsets, cow protection has Become the ‘mantra’ in the barren and impoverished countryside of Mewat Region, home to the 37-lakh strong Meo Muslim community.
A region where cow slaughter was the order of the day until a few years ago With nearly 3,000 cows being slaughtered every day, the cow protection Movement has gained ground with obvious results.
“Now, only about 100 cows are reported slaughtered in a month,” says M S Ahluwalia, the man behind the mass movement dedicated to the protection of Cows under the aegis of Sankalp India Parivar.
“We have set a target of making Mewat a slaughter-free zone by 2010″, Ahluwalia told Deccan Herald.
The key to achieving this unlikely task was linking cow protection to Economic prudence, devoid of any religious connotation.
When Ahluwalia’s father, Vaid Nathu Singh, started the movement in 1987 he And his activists were faced with a Herculean task of convincing the Muslim Community about cow protection and its attendant economic benefits. Twenty two years down the line his son saw his vision translating into Reality when a crowd of 25,000, the majority Meo Muslims, that had Assembled at village Pinangwa, the native place of Nathu Singh to pay homage
On his first death anniversary on February 28, chanted “gau Mata ki jai”.
The father-son duo has inspired hundreds of Meo Muslims to become gwalas
(cow rearers). Each gwala takes care of 100 to 400 cows. The movement has Led to 1.32 lakh cows being brought under the tutelage of gwalas. “It Required sustained work by our activists to educate and raise Awareness among people of Mewat over the years, surpassing many hurdles Created by fundamentalist groups representing both Hindus and Muslims,” says Ahluwalia.
It has brought economic prosperity to the poor populace as cow milk and milk products bring good returns. “Milk products prepared by the gwalas are Pure compared to spurious milk products in the market, and it fetches them Good money”, says Ahluwalia.
No stand-alone gaushalas (cow shelters) have been opened in the region and Not a single rupee is accepted by his movement from anybody as donation. Ahluwalia, a former bureaucrat and a former member of the Central Animal Welfare Board, quit his job to plunge full-time into the cow protection Movement.
A fine of Rs 51,000 was also imposed on anyone found guilty of cow Slaughter. The collection was taken care of by the Meo community. Pointing To the success of the movement, Ahluwalia says that a sum of nearly Rs 35 Lakh had been collected as fine from those indulging in cow slaughter. Muslims themselves were coming forward to report incidents of slaughter, he Pointed out.
The movement has travelled to Meo Muslim belt of Alwar and Bharatpur in Neighbouring Rajasthan.