Cows are sacred animals for India’s predominantly Hindu community and their slaughter is illegal in 18 states of the country. But they must also be treated with respect, so anyone who abandons them in the middle of the street can be condemned. As happened to Prakash Jairam Desai, guilty of letting them go around and thus endangering people too. The Indian state court of Gujarat handed him a six-month prison sentence.
In Hindu mythology, the cow is seen as a sacred animal that can fulfill all desires, symbolizing wealth, desire, salvation and justice. She is not worshiped as a deity, but as a symbol she is to be protected.
That’s why the court was firm in sentencing Prakash, because these kinds of crimes are on the rise in the state. In 2017, Gujarat tightened its cow protection laws, notifying that those who slaughter one could face life imprisonment. This decision has led to the abandonment of a large number of animals that have poured into the streets, with all that follows, including fatal accidents.
Gujarat was one of several Indian states hit by a mad cow outbreak earlier this year, with more than 5,800 head of cattle dead and 170,000 affected by the disease.
Then it was the turn of shelters and charities which in September freed thousands of cows to protest against the lack of promised government aid. There are about 1,500 shelters in the state, some of them, in Banaskantha district alone, shelter 80,000 cows and spend 70 rupees a day on their feed. The videos of the circulation of the cows have gone viral to the point of forcing the authorities to commit themselves and to promise a support action shortly.