SAMBALPUR: A group of youths moving with lathis in their hands on the Panchgachia-Remed Chowk road can be mistaken for highway robbers. They are Gau Rakshaks, a group of youths dedicated to saving cows.
They start when the entire world goes to sleep and work till dawn only to get back to their professions the next day.
Led by Mohammad Yusuf, a bunch of youths of Baraipali has been silently serving the cattle who get injured in accidents on NH-6 connecting Kolkata with Mumbai. They assemble after dinner and fan out to various areas on the NH chasing down cattle on the street.
There have been instances when cows and bulls have died despite being attended and treated. But, while the self-proclaimed Gau Rakshaks were not to be seen, these youths have given the cattle a decent burial. Not only they hire excavator to ensure that the pit dug up is deep, they also offer floral tributes and cover it with ‘Kafan’ and rock salt to facilitate decomposition before filling the pit back with soil.
The money for treatment comes from self-contribution but the amount varies according to their income.
On Wednesday, a member, Chotu Rajak got information that a bull had developed gangrene in one of his hind limb and was limping in pain in Budharaja in the city. He promptly consulted a doctor and it has been decided to amputee the limb to save it. With Sambalpur Municipal Corporation failing to rid the roads of the city and the NH of stray dogs and cattle and the kine house closed down, the youths have taken up the cudgels to save the stray cattle.
Talking to Express, Yusuf said it hurts to see the innocent animals left to suffer. We have pledged to protect the cattle hurt by speeding vehicles instead of raising slogans.
The district administration has reportedly look into the demand for land to set up a shelter to house the cattle.