Yogi Adityanath government suspends 8 officials over death of cows at state-run gaushalas

The Uttar Pradesh government led by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has suspended eight officials in Ayodhya and Mirzapur districts where cows were found dead at state-run gaushalas. The government has also issued warnings to the officials across the state against negligence in running the cow shelters. The action comes in the backdrop of several cows being found dead at gaushals in Ayodhya and Mirzapur in the past few days, triggering angry protests by the locals. The deaths were reportedly linked to starvation and other factors like rain and lightning. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Monday convened a video conferencing with all 75 District Magistrates and warned that cow deaths will invite immediate disciplinary action. He also said that owners who abandon cattle on streets after milking them will invite punitive action. Civic authorities in Lucknow, too, have been put on notice that if they failed to curb stray cattle menace on streets, action will be initiated against them. In Prayagraj last week, at least 35 cows were found dead at a temporary cowshed. Locals blamed the poor management of the gaushala by the officials while the officials, in turn, blamed lightning for the deaths of cows. Also in Kannauj, over a dozen cows died allegedly due to hunger, triggering a protest by the locals. Also Read: 35 cows found dead at gaushala in Prayagraj Since the BJP came to power in Uttar Pradesh in 2017, cow protection has been among the top agendas of the government. Earlier in May, the state government had cleared a corpus for cow conservation. The funds will be raised through donations, government institutions, individuals, NGOs and industrial houses. Also, the state government introduced 0.5% gau kalyan (cow welfare) cess on excise items to generate funds for maintenance of cow shelters across the state. A cess of 0.5% was levied on toll tax collected by government agencies. Besides, the levy on mandi cess was also increased from 1% to 2%. In May, the government also cleared the Uttar Pradesh Gau Sanrakshan Evam Samvardhan Kosh Niyamawali, 2019.