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UP: Stray Cattle Posing Threat to Farmers Amid Nail-Biting Cold, One Dead

Farmers continue to die protecting crops; Villagers allege attacks have increased despite the government's claims to the contrary.
UP: 2 More Farmers Allegedly Die While Protecting Crops From Stray Cattle in Biting Cold

Representational Image. Image Courtesy: Max Pixel

Lucknow: A 71-year-old farmer allegedly died after being attacked by a stray bull in Phuphuwarsuithok village in Uttar Pradesh's Kanpur district on Tuesday night. Police said the incident occurred under Sarsol police station limits when Jageshwar was sleeping in his field to keep a vigil on his crops amid the nail-biting cold. A herd of stray bulls charged at him, causing him to fall. He was rushed to Hallet Hospital by villagers where he succumbed to injuries on Wednesday afternoon. 

As usual, after having dinner, Jageshwar left to guard the field which is a short distance from his house. While he was sleeping, a herd of bulls entered the field and started destroying the crops. Jageshwar called out to drive away the bulls, and a bull ran towards him. Jageshwar also ran to escape, but the bull attacked him. Hearing his screams, farmers gathered at the spot and pelted stones to drive away the bull. He was rushed to the hospital but succumbed to his injuries during treatment, the deceased’s son, Rajkumar, told NewsClick. 

"Attacks by stray cattle are increasing rapidly in Kanpur, and people are losing their lives. Ever since three farmers were killed in separate bull attacks in our village and neighbouring villages, I've been raising this issue for over a year but authorities never pay heed towards our plight. Besides, I have lodged several complaints with the authorities, no action has been taken. My father became a victim of district administration negligence," said Jageshwar's son Sukhlal. Meanwhile, block development officer said, "Teams have been deployed to ascertain the cause of death. A campaign to relocate stray bulls/cattle to shelter homes will be initiated soon."

This is the second such death due to a stray bull attack in three days in the Kanpur district. On December 18, Ikhlaque died after a bull attacked in the Cantt area.

While authorities claimed there are plans to shift stray cattle to shelter homes, locals claimed that the plans to relocate stray cattle to shelter homes are unrealistic and that attacks have increased despite the government's claims to the contrary. 

Last week, a stray bull attacked a family that was peeling dry leaves from cut sugarcane in Bhandur village in Jansath police station area of Muzaffarnagar district, leaving three seriously injured. A farmer named Satish Saini died on the spot.

"Satish along with his wife Maya and younger brother Sant Kumar's wife Kunta, were peeling dry leaves from cut sugarcane in their fields on Saturday. Suddenly, a stray bull entered the field and attacked them. Satish Saini died on the spot while the sister-in-law and others who came to save him were seriously injured," Suraju, a farmer, told NewsClick. 

Another farmer in Agra met with a similar fate last week. While chasing away stray animals who were destroying his crops late at night, he got stuck to the wire of the transformer installed on the tube well and died on the spot. 

The villagers NewsClick talked to said the government claims that it is continuously opening cow shelters. BDO, Nagar Panchayat officers and village heads etc. have been given the responsibility, but no one works on the ground. Stray animals are seen grazing in the fields throughout the day. When farmers call out to drive away the bulls, they lose their lives. 

In the past six months, nearly 20 people and farmers have been killed in stray bull attacks across UP districts.

“In addition to tending to their fields throughout the day, many farmers have taken on the role of a guard to protect their crops from stray animals,” Jagdev Singh, a farmer from Kaler village in Faridkot, said.  "Stray animals graze on the fields and trampled the wheat crop under their feet, reducing it to stubble," Shyam Chahar, a farmer leader in Agra said. 

Meanwhile, the 2019 Livestock Census put the total number of cattle in Uttar Pradesh at a little more than 1.90 crore. As many as 62,04,304 were found to be milch cows and 23,36,151 dry.

The same Census found the number of stray cattle to be 11.84 lakh in UP. However, the number of stray cattle has apparently gone up since considering the fact that currently, 11.89 lakh stray cattle both male and female are already protected in 6,889 destitute cattle breeding sites. Additionally, 1.85 lakh cows have been handed over to people under the Mukhyamantri Sahbhagita Yojana.

There were 11.84 lakh stray cattle in Uttar Pradesh, according to the same Census. Nevertheless, given that 6,889 impoverished cattle breeding locations currently house 11.89 lakh male and female stray cattle that are protected, it appears that the number of stray cattle has increased since. Furthermore, 1.85 lakh cows have been given to individuals as part of the 'Mukhyamantri Sahbhagita Yojana'.

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