Love for cattle brings Hindus and Muslims together

Members of the communities play a vital role in preventing the cattle from being sent to abattoirs and nursing them to good health.
For representational purposes (Photo | PTI)
For representational purposes (Photo | PTI)

CUTTACK: At a time when Hindu-Muslim hatred has taken deep roots in many parts of the country, members of the two religious communities in Nischintakoili block of Cuttack district are together for a reason - to prevent cow slaughter and taking care of ailing and old cattle.

At Asureswar Gorakshani in the block, Hindus and Muslims have been taking care of cattle that are abandoned by their owners either due to age or disability. It is managed by Asureswar Gomangal Samiti which is headed by minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak.

Hindus and Muslims of Asureswar, Koilo, Dixitpada, Ranipada, Julikipada, Pithapada, Paikarapur, Kulagan Isalo, Katikata, Parasailo, Banamalipur, Aenda and Patasura villages of the block are members of the samiti. Old and diseased cattle that are found abandoned are brought to the shelter and taken care of for the rest of their lives, member of the samiti Sk Ahmad said.

Members of the communities play a vital role in preventing the cattle from being sent to abattoirs and nursing them to good health. The organisation was formed 80 years back by two villagers - Jaladhar Nayak and Afsar Ali. The site chosen for the cow shelter was a graveyard, close to a slaughterhouse, which was forced to close down after the cattle shelter came up in 1943.

The first inmate of the shelter was an old ox. A villager of Mallipur Dhadi Das had sold the animal to a butcher Rafik Khan for Rs 4 and 10 annas. The ox had become immobile after losing one of its legs. When Afsar Ali heard about the ox, he approached Khan and bought the animal by paying Rs 5 then. As the news spread, the old and disabled cattle were brought to the shelter by people of nearby villages.

Currently, the shelter with six sheds houses 120 cattle including three blind and 30 disabled cattle. Some of them are paralysed.The organisation is recognised by Animal Welfare Board of India and has an annual budget of Rs 25 lakh to Rs 30 lakh. The board provides Rs 5 lakh to Rs 6 lakh annually and the remaining expenses are met through contributions by villagers which happens in the shape of a unique practice called ‘Musti Bikhya’.The organisation has provided every family in the nearby villages earthen pots.

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