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Suspicion of skin-bone smuggling in mass cow deaths at Gaushala of BJP leader in Chhattisgarh

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Special Correspondent

Raipur/Durg: Strong suspicion of smuggling of skin and bones has emerged in the en masse cow deaths reported from a cow shelter (Gaushala) run by a BJP leader in Durg district of Chhattisgarh.

The shelter owner might have also sold the skin of the dead cows to be used as fishing baits, initial investigations have shown.

At least 200 cows were reported dead in past few days in the Gaushala run by BJP leader Harish Verma. Of these, 27 deaths have been confirmed by officials as having occurred during past two days. These deaths were attributed to malnutrition and starvation.

Verma has been booked under relevant sections and arrested by the Dhamdha police. He is being interrogated for the possibility of involvement in body parts smuggling of cows.

Villagers of Rajpur in Dhamdha block had reported the en masse deaths after they got a whiff that the shelter owner was getting huge pits dug to bury the cows. They have alleged that in the past, Verma’s shelter had carcasses of cows thrown around on the village outskirts.

Following the complaints, the president of Gauseva Ayog (Cow Protection Commission) Bisesar Patel, Dhamdha SDM Rajesh Patre and veterinarians visited the shelter. They found that the cows had died due to starvation and lack of care,

The 569 other cows in the shelter – far more than the capacity – were shifted elsewhere. The president of the commission then reached police station with the secretary of the commission and filed an official complaint.

The Shagun Gaushala has received over Rs 93 lakh as grant for maintenance since year 2010, but the funds were misutilised leading to starvation condition.

Verma has meanwhile said that his shelter held far more cows over capacity and despite intimation to government that they could not be taken care of, nothing was done. Also he said over Rs 10 lakh in grant was pending with government.