Let Down by BJP, MP’s ‘Gau Rakshaks’ & Guest Lecturers Protest

‘Gau rakshaks’ and guest lecturers at colleges have jointly decided to vote the BJP out of MP in the upcoming polls.

4 min read
Image used for representational purposes.

After the infamous Mandsaur farmers' agitation, where five farmers had died, shaking up the BJP-led Madhya Pradesh government, the 23,000 ‘gau rakshaks’ and the guest professors of the state are ready to take on the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government in an election year.

Ideologically, the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) and Chouhan claim to be ‘cow protectors’ and have often pitched for stringent cow protection laws.

Gau rakshaks protesting in Bhopal.
Gau rakshaks protesting in Bhopal.
(Photo: Kashif Kakvi / The Quint)
Chouhan recently proposed to amend the Madhya Pradesh Gauvansh Vadh Pratishedh Adhiniyam, 2004 (anti-cow slaughter law) to increase the degree of punishment for slaughtering and abandoning cows in the state from three years to seven years, with a minimum fine of Rs 5,000. 

All these efforts seem futile now as the Madhya Pradesh Gau Sewak Sangh has decided to openly fight with the government for their demands.

Disappointed with the BJP government’s policies, 23,000 ‘cow vigilantes’ decided to picket the Chief Minister’s house on 26 February 2018 in Bhopal and launch a statewide protest.

Meanwhile, guest professors in several districts have already taken a pledge to refrain from voting for the BJP in the upcoming Assembly election, alleging exploitation. Madhya Pradesh, where the BJP has been in power for the last 15 years, is scheduled to go to polls later this year.

Chouhan’s Govt Fails to Deliver Promises

Gau rakshaks have been demanding allotment of fresh land for cow shelters, food subsidies for bovines, recruitment of gau rakshaks at the Panchayat level, fixed remuneration and 50 percent job reservation for them at the Animal Husbandry Department.

Rajesh Dholpure, President of the Gau Sewak Sangh told The Quint that the BJP-government that claims to be cow protectors, is doing nothing for cows and those who work to protect cows.

This not the first time we are making demands. On 26 March 2017, Animal Husbandry Minister, Antar Singh Arya and Member of Parliament (Bhopal constituency) Alok Sanjar had promised to settle our demands during a state-level meeting of gau rakshaks in Bhopal but they have been dodging us and nothing has happened till date.
Gau rakshaks protesting in Bhopal.
Gau rakshaks protesting in Bhopal.
(Photo: Kashif Kakvi / The Quint)

For the last 15 years, gau rakshaks have not only been closely working with the Animal Husbandry department to protect cows, but have also been playing a major role in creating awareness of government schemes such as ‘Gau Sewak Gokul Mahotsav’, ‘Krishi Mahotsav’, ‘Gopal award’, and so on, Dholpure said, adding: “We have got nothing in return and have had enough. We will now claim our rights by force, by protesting on 26 February 2018".

Govind Vyas, Vice-President of the Bhopal Zila Gaupalan Samardhan Samiti claimed that they have been demanding land sanctions for bovine shelters and the reviewing of outdated financial support parameters by the state as well as the Central government, so that the animals can be saved. However, the “entreaties have fallen on deaf ears,” Vyas alleged.

Disgruntled Guest Professors in MP Colleges

The guest professors have a different story altogether, and are much ahead of the gau rakshaks in terms of protest. To show their disappointment with the BJP government, they have taken an oath to refrain from voting for the BJP in the upcoming Assembly polls and also have also pledged to influence others.

They have made demands for their appointment as contractual professors rather than being assigned the role of guest professors, and has also asked for fixed monthly wages.

Despite holding PhDs, most of the guest professors are unemployed. We have been working for the last couple of years in different colleges and universities of the states as guest lecturers. We had left no stone unturned to voice our concerns but all our efforts have been in vain. That’s why we have decided to vote out this government in the upcoming elections.
Swdeep Shrivastav, Secretary, Guest Professor Union

“Corruption in the education sector is rampant in the state as we have already witnessed in the infamous Vyapam scam,” Shrivastav told The Quint, adding that they had held a two-day protest in Bhopal and met the concerned department to chalk out the solution but the government had paid no attention to them.

Dinesh Dhakar, spokesperson of the Gau Sewak Sangh, threatened that should the government not meet their demands, they would stage an indefinite strike.

“We will sit on an indefinite strike in front of the CM’s house with our families, and if anyone dies, the government will be responsible for it,” he said.

When contacted, Narottam Mishra, spokesperson of the Madhya Pradesh government, chose not to reply.

(The writer is a Bhopal-based freelance journalist. He can be reached @MallickKakvi.)

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