MP opens cow sanctuary, CM gets RSS pat

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan won accolades from RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat for furthering the right-wing organisation's cow protection agenda. "It's time to re-establish the respect gaumata once enjoyed," Bhagwat said Monday calling cow conservation a symbol of India's culture. Praising the MP government for 'doing its duty' the RSS chief said the campaign should reach every household. The Sangh chief was speaking at Salaria village of Shajapur district where bhoomipoojan of the country's first Gau Abhayaranya (cow sanctuary) was performed.

Bhagwat said Chouhan's government was introducing the new generation with Indian values and culture.

The BJP government passed stringent anti- cow slaughter law this year, making it an offence punishable with seven-year jail term and shifting the proof of burden to the accused.

Chouhan said there were many sanctuaries to protect the tiger but none for the cow. He said the sanctuary would be developed as a Gau Tirth and made part of a religious tourism circuit after linking nearby temples. He rattled off details of schemes initiated by his government that champion the cause of Indian culture and values like Hindi and Sanskrit universities, education based on the scriptures, and declaring cities having religious places as holy cities. Chouhan reiterated that no new liquor shops will be allowed to open in MP. The CM exhorted people not to sell cows, which have grown old and instead take them to the sanctuary.

Taking shape over 472.63 hectares, the sanctuary, besides sheltering stray, weak and disabled cows, will promote products made from cow urine, dung and milk. It will promote desi breeds like Malwi, Nimadi, Kenkatha and Nagauri. The shelter will take in 5,000 cows to begin with and solar-power lighted sheds will be built for 1,000 more every year.

Chauhan, who reviewed the work on the sanctuary on Wednesday and ordered a lake be built for water, said, "Besides strengthening local economy, cow conservation is a symbol of cultural awakening."

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