At least a dozen cows were found dead in a swamp, and on an adjoining hillock, close to a 'gaushala' (home for cows) owned and operated by BJP leader Varun Agarwal in Dewas district of Madhya Pradesh earlier this week. The dead animals were discovered after a local cattle owner came to the 'gaushala' in search of his cows, which had been sent there by the local municipal body after being found wandering on the streets. The cattle owner, Amba Ram, found his cows alive but saw the carcasses of several others.
The Dewas Municipal Corporation was duly alerted and a team visited the 'gaushala' on Wednesday to investigate the situation. The team found cows stuck in a swamp just outside the shelter's gate; one of those stuck had died. They also found the carcasses of at least 10 others on a nearby hillock.
"Once we came to know of this development, a team lead by CSP Anil Singh Rathore and two other police officers were sent to the 'gaushala'. The team found that the 'gaushala' was operating beyond full capacity," Jagdish Dawar, ASP (Dewas), said.
"Some cows that were stuck in the swamp were rescued, but one of the cows had already died. Subsequently, a case was registered against 'gaushala' operator Varun Agrawal under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and further action is underway," he added.
The state government has ordered a magisterial inquiry in to the deaths of the cows.
District police have also registered a case against the BJP worker's aides - Satish and Mahesh.
The incident happened in Rabadiya village, which is approximately 15 kilometres from the district headquarters, and under the jurisdiction of the Tonkkhurd Police Station.
The 'gaushala' operator had been felicitated as a social activist at an Independence Day function in Dewas town on August 15.
In January, the Congress-led Madhya Pradesh government had said it planned to open a thousand 'gaushalas', at a total cost of Rs 450 crore, within four months. Chief Minister Kamal Nath's Project Gaushala visualised shelters with sheds, tube wells, pasture development and bio-gas plants, among other amenities.
The Chief Minister said that besides sheltering homeless animals, the project will also provide relief to people in urban and rural areas from stray cattle and ensure employment for the local population.
The state currently has around 600 cow shelters, none of which are government-owned.