Police initiated probe after allegations were made by activists from People For Animals group of BJP MP Maneka Gandhi
NEW DELHI — Police in UP’s Greater Noida, bordering national capital, have initiated a probe after reports that over 600 cows have gone missing from a government-aided animal shelter in the Jalpara area of the city since the beginning of lockdown, the Times of India reported
The police took note of the issue after allegations were made by activists from People For Animals group of BJP MP Maneka Gandhi.
The TOI report suggests that the cows have been trafficked for money or poisoned by the shelter’s management. However, police have not yet filed any FIR in the matter.
Pragati Khanna, one of the activists, has claimed that she had been receiving complaints from animal lovers about two to three mini-trucks loaded with cattle leaving the shelter almost every week since March-end.
“I had gone to the shelter and filmed mini-trucks waiting inside for ferrying cows. When asked, the caretaker told me the vehicles were meant for ferrying the cattle from the over-populated Jalpura shelter to cowsheds in other places, but he could not produce any paperwork for the same,” she has been quoted by TOI as saying.
The activists have accused the management of the shelter selling stray cows to smugglers and illegal breeders in exchange for money. “We intercept a lot of vehicles on suspicion of smuggling of cows with the help of police, these rescued animals are sent to the shelter, but then they disappear,” Khanna said.
In fact, the allegations surfaced after a team from the animal husbandry department of the Gautam Budh Nagar district where lies Greater Noida recently visited the cow shelter to treat some 25-30 cows who suddenly fell sick.
Virendra Kumar Shrivastava, the district’s chief veterinary officer, said the team treated the animals but five of them died. “As per protocol, we conducted an autopsy and found that they died of poisoning, which is a normal thing because during the rainy season, the green fodder gets poisonous,” he said.
TOI quoted Dr Prem Chand from the public health department as saying that the caretaker is solely responsible for maintenance of the shelter, “We gave them land to open the shelter in 2017. The allegations are subject to investigation.”
Police have said that prima facie the caretaker was forced to shift some cows to another shelter in Garhmukteshwar as the Greater Noida Authority stopped paying for fodder since lockdown. “Anyway, a probe is on,” a police official told TOI.