Bhopal: After the infamous Mandsaur farmers' agitation, where five farmers had died and pushed the BJP-led Madhya Pradesh government on its toes last year, 23,000 Gau Sewaks and the guest professors of the state are now ready to lock horns with the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government in the election year.
Ideologically, Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) and Shivraj Singh Chouhan claim themselves a cow protector and often pitched for stringent cow protection laws.
In addition to that, Shivraj Singh Chouhan has recently proposed to mend the Madhya Pradesh Gauvansh Vadh Pratishedh Adhiniyam, 2004 (anti-cow slaughter law) to increased the degree of punishment for slaughtering and abandoning cows in the state from three years to seven years with minimum fine of Rs 5,000 but all these efforts seem unworthy when Madhya Pradesh Gau Sewak Sangh has decided to open a fight with the government for their demands.
Disappointed with the BJP government's policies, thousands of Gau Sewaks have protested in the State capital on Monday.
Thousands of Gau Sewaks gathered at historic Neelam Park in Bhopal and raised slogans against the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government. Initially, the police sealed the main gate of the park to refrain them from picketing the CM's house. Later, they tried to shift them to the different location. This had already irked the Gau Sewaks and situation then turned ugly. The entire park turned into battle field and they came out of the park forcefully.
Meanwhile, president of the Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee, Arun Yadav, accompanied by Congress leaders Jitu Patwari added fuel to the fire in the incident by reaching Neelam Park. They joined the chorus of Gau Sewaks and backed their demands. They also assured them to raise their issue in the ongoing budget session of the Assembly.
As Congress leaders left the agitators, they marched towards the CM house to picket it. However, city police stopped and later detained them.
While talking to Newsclick the spokesperson of the Madhya Pradesh Gau Sewa Sangh, Dinesh Dhakad said, "Government is trying to crush Gau Sewaks, however, this has only made us strong. Moreover, Congress leaders have assured us to raise our demands in the assembly."
Gau Sewaks have been demanding to allot fresh lands for cow shelters, subsidies food for the bovines, recruitment of Gau Sewaks at Panchayat level, fixation of remuneration and 50 percent reservation of the Gau Sewaks in Animal Husbandry Department vacancies.
The president of the Sangh, Rajesh Dhoulpure said that government is trying to suppress the voices of Gau Sewaks but they are here to take their right by hook or by crook. "Until our demands are met, all the Gau Sewaks will stay in Bhopal and fight for their rights. Soon, we will call all the members of our family and hold a protest outside the CM house."
Madhya Pradesh, where the BJP has been in power for the last 15 years, goes to polls later this year.
BJP's cow love a gimmick
The BJP-government, who brands themselves as cow protectors, is doing nothing to protect the cows and Gau Sewaks, except advertising about it. Their cow love is a just a mere gimmick. “This not the first time we are demanding. We have been promised several times by the government but received nothing. On March 26, 2017, Animal Husbandry minister, Antar Singh Arya and Member of Parliament (Bhopal constituency) Alok Sanjar had promised to deliver our demands during a state-level meeting of Gau Sewaks in Bhopal but they have been dodging us and nothing has happened till date."
The government's apathy has irked the Gau Sewaks and led them toward a state-wide protest.
From the last 15 years, Gau Sewaks are not only closely working with the Animal Husbandry Department to save or protect the cows but also playing a major role in creating awareness of government schemes such as 'Gau Sewak Gokul Mahotsav', Krishi Mahotsav, Gopal award, and so on, in the society to make these schemes successful. “But we are getting nothing in return and enough is enough. Now we will take our rights forcefully by protesting on February 26, 2018. Where 23,000 Gau Sewaks will picket the CM house with all strength,” Dholpure added.
Moreover, the Vice-president of Bhopal Zila Gaupalan Samardhan Samiti, Govind Vyas has claimed that we have been demanding to sanction the land for bovine shelters and review the outdated financial support parameters by the state as well as the central governments so that the animals can be saved from dying, however, “Our entreaties have fallen on deaf ears,” he asserted.
The guest professors have a different story. They have already gone too far from the Gau Sewaks to take the government down. To show their disappointment with the BJP government, they have refrained from voting for BJP in the upcoming assembly and also pledged to influence others. Their demands include appointing them as contractual professors from guest professors and get fixed monthly wages.
Secretary of the guest professors' union, Swadeep Shrivastav shared his ordeal with Newsclick, "Most of the guest professors are PhD holders and jobless. We have been working from the last couple of years in the different colleges and universities of the states as guest lecturers. We had left no stone unturned to voice our concern but all our efforts have gone astray. Thus, we have decided to root out this government by taking a pledge and not vote in the upcoming election," he said.
He further said "the corruption in the education sector is rampant in the state as we already witnessed the infamous Vyapam scam," and added that "we had held a two-day protest in Bhopal and met with the department concerned to chalk out the solution, but the government paid no attention to us".
When contacted, spokesperson of the Madhya Pradesh government Narottam Mishra chose not to reply. Despite several calls and messages, he did not wish to reply.
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are the author's personal views, and do not necessarily represent the views of Newsclick.