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UP: 2 More Farmers Allegedly Die While Protecting Crops From Stray Cattle in Biting Cold

Stray cattle is proving to be greater menace as the cold wave grips North India, with farmers left with no option but to spend nights on their fields under the open skies.
UP: 2 More Farmers Allegedly Die While Protecting Crops From Stray Cattle in Biting Cold

Representational Image. Image Courtesy: Max Pixel

Lucknow: In yet another case, a 60-year-old man, Bhura Yadav, who was staying overnight in his field to guard his crops against stray cattle allegedly died of cold at Pandaree village under Baberu tehsil in Uttar Pradesh's Banda district.

The actual reason of death will be clear only after the post-mortem report is received but family members allege that the deceased farmer had gone to his field late at night where he could not bear the severe cold wave and collapsed, the SHO of Baberu told reporters.

"Prima facie it appears that he died due to cold. The body has been sent for post-mortem to ascertain the exact cause of death," District Hospital Emergency Service Officer told NewsClick. 

To save their crops from abandoned animals, many farmers have been playing the role of a guard, besides looking after their fields during the day. "Sometimes, stray animals graze on the fields and trample the wheat crop. Left with no other option, small farmers have to stay in their fields at night to keep wild animals away. Bhura too left for his field after having dinner on Saturday night. As usual, he stayed at night to protect his crop from stray cattle. He returned the next morning but he was not feeling well and his health started deteriorating. Doctors at district hospital declared him dead soon after he was taken there," Rajkaran, a relative of deceased farmer's told NewsClick. 

However, some reports claimed that cold and limp body of the farmer was recovered from the fields in the morning and was handed over to his family members after post-mortem.

Read Also: UP: 2 Farmers Die in Biting Cold, Guarding Crops From Stray Cattle at Night, Allege Families

The farmer is survived by seven children, including five unmarried daughters. According to his family members, Yadav used to often spend his time in the fields to protect the crop from stray cattle.

In a similar case, a 35-year old farmer in Farrukhabad, who too had gone to his field to protect his crop from stray cattle on Saturday, is suspected to have died of cold.

On Sunday, his son found him lying unconscious and immediately rushed him to the district hospital, where he was declared dead.

The deceased has been identified as Rajesh Rajput, a native of Majhgaon village in Farrukhabad district. Last year, the deceased farmer had suffered losses in potato crop. He had planned to pay the pending loan from the earnings of the mustard crop this year. "He used to stay at his field in the night to protect his potato crop since it was the only source to repay the loan but he died due to cold," the family members alleged, adding that "inefficiency of the authorities to check stray animal menace had resulted in Rajesh’s death.”

SKM to Protest

Meanwhile, taking cognizance of farmers' death, the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) has threatened to organise a protest this week at district level against stray cattle menace. The union leaders said the government had promised to end the stray cattle menace, but nothing has happened. The cattle are damaging crops and, in some instances, stray cows have even attacked villagers.

Stray cattle menace was a major issue in the Assembly bye-elections in 2022. "Farmers are have died either due to cold while protecting their crops from stray cattle or committed suicide after crops were damged. The BJP government promised to tackle the issue but has not done anything. Soon, under the banner of Samyukta Kisan Morcha we will hold protests across the state," Mukut Singn, general secretary of AIKS, told NewsClick. 

Talking about increasing stray cattle menace, Singh said: "Due to the ban on illegal cow slaughter and farmers opting to leave their cattle on the streets, there has been a significant rise in stray cattle population in the past few years."

Last week, two farmers from Shahjahanpur and Unnao allegedly died) because of the bitter cold. According to the family members, the duo too had gone to their agriculture field fearing crop damage by stray cattle at night. They could not return home the next morning but their dead bodies came. 

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