By Antony Brennan
A recent âCare for Cows in Vrindavanâ newsletter from Kurma Rupa das highlights and issue that warrants the attention of all of us: the increased incidence of cows being kidnapped in Vrindavan and sold for profit.
In the March newsletter Kurma Rupa tells is there are those who make their living by abducting cows for slaughter. He refers to them as butchers.
As if this isnât bad enough there are also accomplices that âpose as sympathisers and offer support but only with intent to win our confidence so they can learn of our plans and thus weaken our defences,â Kurma says.
Reportedly the kidnappers can receive up to 10,000 rupees for a single cow. According to villagers the kidnappers are becoming more brazen and better organised. Authorities have done little to prevent the abductions and locals are risking their lives trying to prevent the deadly night raids. âSorry to say, but it seems that the values of the elite of modern India have changed. It is no longer the cow who is sacred, but it is profit that is sacred. Cow protection is being replaced by profit protection,â Kurma Rupa says.
Security had not previously required great effort or resources as cow protection programs once received genuine support from all quarters. Now things are changing and the security of cows required maximum effort.
In the Match newsletter Kurma Rupa paints a disturbing picture and outlines a shocking chain of events.
âOn the cold, damp and foggy night of January 2, 2009 a truck with five or six men stopped in front or our gate. They were armed and hostile and arrived with intent to steal our cows. One of them demanded that our guard surrender the keys to the gate but he secured himself upstairs.
The intruders jumped the gate and performed a thorough search of our facility. Since our cows are not tied up they moved about restlessly in the fog filling the night with the frantic ringing of their bells.
The thieves next broke the lock on our front gate but then mysteriously left without taking anything. We reported the incident to the local police and they advised us to hire two gunmen. Several of us volunteered to stand guard as well. We were supplied two men armed with shotguns for the next month.â
Kurma Rupa says the hired men turned out to have little interest in protecting the cows. Their weapons were poorly maintained and ineffective. Eventually the gunmen were fired.
âIn any case the break-in and frustration with the hired guards had a unifying affect on the volunteer go-sevaks at Care for Cows.â Kurma Rupa says. Volunteers began took shifts to protect the cows each night. âNeighbours gave us their phone numbers and invited us to call them in the middle of the night in the case of an emergency and wealthy businessman from Delhi donated flood lights and pledged to arrange siren to distract and scare off any intruders.â
At the end of January Care for Cows was reasonably secure. âWe received several reports that cows were being stolen in other places around the town,â Kurma Rupa says. âWe got permission from the local police to patrol the streets by motorcycle as a service to the rest of the community. Every night two or three of our volunteers patrol areas that street cows frequent and at times we are accompanied by police or concerned residents with gun permits. Our objective is to locate the butchers, notify the police and then help chase them out of town.â
In February Kurma Rupa learned that two trucks and fifteen men armed with the guns had come to abduct cows. Six armed men jumped out of the trucks and loudly announced that if anyone came out of their Houses they would meet with death. Five other men forced several street cows on their truck by prodding them with swords. Several men rode in the back of the truck poised to shoot or throw rocks at all who attempted to pursue them out of town. âIt is interesting to note that this incident took place hardly two hundred meters away from the local police station,â Kurma Rupa says.
Volunteers at Care for Cows and other local villagers and well wishers have participated in several confrontations with those who come to steal the cows to be slaughtered for profit. On these occasions the group have been successful in chasing the off dangerous and armed abductors off, but not without risk.
âIt is most unfortunate that cow protection today in Krishnaâs holy land means that one has to risk his life to keep them from being abducted for slaughter,â Kurma Rupa says.
Devotees and well wishers who wish to help should contact Uttar Pradesh government ministers and demand action be taken against those who kidnap and kill cows. Kumari Mayawati is the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. Letters can be faxed to Minister Mayawati at the following fax number: +91 522 2237620.
Kidnapping of cows is a criminal offence In Vrindavan. Residents of Vrindavan say the villagers and cows need support and protection whilst the police need resources to stop and catch those who prey on the cows.
You can also call Minister Mayawati directly on +91 522 2235733. If you wish you can send your letter by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. All the letters sent to this email address will be collated and presented to Minister Mayawati with a petition asking her government to take action.