Few elected leaders take up the issue of cattle theft on behalf of farmers. However, Bharatiya Janata Party MLA from Gwalior Rural seat in Madhya Pradesh, Bharat Singh Khushwaha, says he will raise the issue in the state assembly, as his constituency is severely affected.
Cattle theft has in recent times emerged as a major cause for rural distress, going by frequent farmer protests staged outside police stations across ‘cow-belt’ states. This correspondent has been reporting about the menace, exposing repeated government failure in the face of the deadly cattle-smuggling mafia and its relentless brazen attack on dairy farmers.
Few elected leaders take up this issue on behalf of farmers. However, Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Gwalior Rural seat in Madhya Pradesh, Bharat Singh Khushwaha, says he will raise the issue in state assembly, as his constituency is severely affected.
Khushwaha recently handed a list of 23 cases of theft and loot in his area to the Gwalior police chief. Most cases are of cattle theft. A total of 66 buffaloes and 53 goats have been stolen from 19 farmers in a short period of two-three months, he says.
Khushwaha has demanded that the state government take action against the “rising number of cattle thefts in the region”. He told this correspondent that residents have been complaining that such thefts have increased since the Kamal Nath-led Congress government came to power in the state a year ago.
“This government is treating it like a small issue. Even a non-issue. But if you ask the farmers, they will tell you that cattle theft completely breaks their back. Mostly, it’s the poor who are affected,” he said.
Khushwaha expressed a concern that this correspondent too has been raising – it’s a crime that’s hugely under-reported as chances of getting the cattle back are almost negligible. “Cattle straightaway goes for slaughter. Farmers don’t even get a case registered,” he said.
Khushwaha lamented that many farmers affected in his area bought the cattle on loan, to feed the young ones in their families with milk and dairy products and make an income on the side. “They buy cattle as investment. However, on one fateful night, they are rendered unemployed,” he said.
Cattle thieves, he said, come increasingly armed and pose a threat to the lives of farmers. “They point pistols at farmers. That’s how brazen they have become. This shows total collapse of law and order,” he said.
“I’ll raise the issue in the state assembly in December,” said Khushwaha.