CHENNAI: The Central government submitted in the Supreme Court it would not enforce the ban on sales of cows for slaughter in the open markets. But that did not stop Rama Ravikumar, general secretary of the Hindu Makkal Katchi, from stopping a truck transporting cows on Anna Salai on Saturday.
Ravikumar’s reason for stopping the vehicle was their suspicion that the cows were being transported for slaughter. But it later turned out the cows were originally seized by the city corporation as they were found straying on the streets and its owner, J Boobalan, who was a milkman, was merely transporting the cows back home.
“I was just taking my cows back home after they were seized by corporation for straying in the streets. They (Ravikumar and his supporters) asked me to stop the vehicle and get down. The cows are the source of my income, I can’t even imagine slaughtering them,” said Boobalan. For the next few hours, he had to repeatedly emphasise his only intention to take the cows back was to continue his dairy business near his house at Alandur.
Police officers were present at the scene that was unfolding in the heart of the city on one of its busy arteries. But, it was Ravikumar who was calling the shots by asking Boobalan to produce the papers to prove all the five cows belonged to him and his intention was not to kill them.
When Boobalan alleged that he had paid the fine to a watchman because the officer in charge of the corporation’s pound was on leave and that he wasn’t provided a receipt, Ravikumar refused to budge from the spot until he was shown a receipt.
As a crowd of onlookers gathered, Ravikumar changed his stand from saving cows from slaughter to exposing corruption within the ranks of the city corporation. He questioned the corporation staff’s failure to issue the receipt. “There is corruption under this government which has to be questioned,” he said.
From pitting himself against Boobalan for transporting cows, Ravikumar turned to his ally and began questioning the alleged corruption in corporation.
Provided with the phone number of a veterinarian, Priya, who usually issues receipts at the corporation pound, Ravikumar questioned the procedure at the corporation.
“People don’t have houses. How can you expect cows to be kept indoors,” he questioned the corporation officer over phone.
Police officers stood watching Ravikumar rant about the irregularities in the government and poor facilities being provided to cows in the pound.
Boobalan who realised he was no longer under fire, spoke against the corporation for taking in stray cows and waiting for owners to come and claim them after paying a fine.
He alleged that he paid `8,000 to get back his five cows from the pound. He also claimed that the corporation pound cramped cows together and did not provide them adequate fodder.
“There is a water tank with bleaching powder floating on its surface from which these seized cows drink water,” he said.
But only after a detailed reading of the undertaking Boobalan gave to corporation in a stamp paper, did Ravikumar allow him to continue his journey along with the cattle.