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Open Letter To UP CM

Open Letter To UP CM

Dear Shri Yogi Adityanath,

It is with great concern that I write this letter to you. The policies that you pursue with great vigour have begun to haunt you but you do not seem to realise it for you think that the Chief Minister’s post is yours for life. You do not even know that the carpet under your feet has been slipping away.

You are the only person holding a religious post — head of the Gorakhnath sect — and the post of Chief Minister. I had the privilege of visiting your headquarters at Gorakhpur. I remember seeing a big flex board there which had a picture of the ambulance service you inaugurated a few days earlier. The ambulance was to provide medical service to the cows, not human beings.

Yes, I am also an animal lover. I love buffaloes as much as I love cows, dogs, horses and donkeys. But I doubt whether you love even the cows because it was your policies that led to the pathetic condition of the cows in Uttar Pradesh.

Let me tell you, yesterday, I visited a cow shed at Aluva where there were 30 cows, big and small. They were of a special indigenous breed. They are small and a healthy cow gives just 2.5 or at the most three litres of milk. I spent some time hearing about the cows.

This breed’s milk has medicinal properties. It is sold at Rs 120 a litre. Its ghee fetches Rs 2400. I spent at least half an hour there but there was no stink at all. Why? Because the manger is kept clean and a German antiseptic medicine is used to keep the environs clean and odour-free.

I wanted to touch the cows but they were scared of me as I held a camera. Of course, I did not use the flash but I took their picture without their permission. It may come as a big surprise to you that the cattle belonged to a Muslim family. The lady told me that as soon as she heard about the dams being opened in August last, she took all the cows one by one to a hilly place. The water reached the cowshed only after the last cow was saved. That is real love for the animal. 

Do you know that, per capita, Kerala has the largest number of cows than any state in India? 

Why is that so? It is because the farmers know that once the cows turn unproductive, they can be sold for meat, each cow fetching the farmer not less than Rs 25,000. In your state, you have banned cow slaughter depriving the farmer of this Rs 25,000 per cow or bullock. The amount I mentioned is a big sum no farmer can afford to lose.

I remember seeing a picture of you feeding the cows at your ashram at Gorakhpur a day before you left for Lucknow to be sworn in as Chief Minister. They were young cows. What do you do with the old cows and bullocks? You are a super rich monk and you can afford to keep them in a gaushala. But do you do that?

In UP, Haryana and other North Indian states where the anti-cow slaughter law is strictly enforced, the farmers take their old cows and bullocks, which have no value, to forest areas and abandon them there. What else can they do? 

To keep an old cow at home will cost not less than Rs 2000 per month. How can you expect a poor farmer to spend so much money when some of them even see suicide as a solution to their problems?

Do you know what happens when the cows are dropped in a forest area? The cows are so domesticated that they do not know how to live in the wild. They have a premature death. They are sometimes killed by wild animals. That is what happened at Bulandshahr. The people heard that the remains of some cows were found in a forest there.

In the “cow, cow” atmosphere you created in the state, the communal elements saw it as an opportunity to create tension and garner votes in the next election. You know better than me how riots help you to win votes. People may say that it was Modi’s development agenda that won the election in 2014 but you know only too well that in UP, the riots helped the BJP to sweep the polls in some areas.

That was their motive but, unfortunately for you, the crowd could not do much because of the timely action by the police led by Subodh Kumar Singh. But he had to pay a heavy price with his own life. It is difficult for me to believe that he became an accidental victim of mob violence.

As you know very well, no riot is spontaneous. Even if it is spontaneous, it cannot continue for long without the support of the state. 

I am sure you know that without the support of the police, over 2000 people could not have been killed in Gujarat. They were supposed to be reacting to the Godhra incident. Do you know that Godhra is just a few kilometres from Madhya Pradesh, where there was no reaction but there was reaction hundreds of kilometres away in Ahmedabad?

This police officer who lost his life earned notoriety among some sections of the people for the bold stand that he took against the killers of Mohammed Akhlaq, whose only fault was that he had stored some goat meat in his refrigerator.

He took action against the killers and he has been facing harassment since then. It is for you to rule out the possibility that it was a vendetta killing. It is also your responsibility to use the law against those who took the law into their own hands.

Alas, your conduct after the killing was not above board. You should have been the first to condemn the killing and tell your people that human life is more important than animal life. You should have condemned the killing, visited Bulandshahr, consoled the family and announced your government’s determination to uphold the law. It would have made a huge impact on the country.

Instead, you were busy with routine religious functions so much so that one wondered whether you were the Chief Minister of the largest state or just a religious person who mouths mantras. It was only after your silence was questioned on the social media that you bestirred yourself into action.

Instead of going to the inspector’s house, you called the family to your house. This kind of behaviour did not show you in a good light. You do not realise that in a democracy, it is the people who are the sovereign. Chief ministers come and go but the voters remain permanent.

Let me tell you something. You will never be able to force the farmers to feed the unproductive cattle. You were elected by the people, not the cows. Do you know that abandoned cows have become a problem in Uttar Pradesh? They destroy crop. They cannot be faulted because they need food. You as CM will never be able to feed those cows abandoned by the farmers.

I know you can never evolve a policy to take care of all such abandoned cows. Already, the cow population in all the states ruled by the BJP has decreased considerably. The farmers have no incentive to keep the cows. Instead of cows, it is buffaloes that they keep. You seem to be blissfully unaware of all this.

You seem to be equally unaware of certain things. Muslims are not cow eaters. In West Asia where Islam was born, there were no cows. In India, they prefer to eat goat meat, not cow meat. At one time, cow meat was cheaper than goat meat. That is why they eat cow meat. Give them a choice, they will eat goat meat. Also, Muslims will never kill cows for sport or for the pleasure of killing. It is foolish to assume that it is the handiwork of the Muslims if a cow is found dead somewhere.

A friend of mine who lives in Himachal Pradesh, where too your party is in power, wrote to me on Facebook that earlier if a cow was found dead, somebody would skin it and bury the carcass. Today, nobody would dare to touch the carcass for fear of being blamed for cow slaughter. Do you know what happens? The carcass will remain there and rot till even vultures won’t eat it.

Your advisers won’t tell you about such happenings in your state too. It is all because of your obsession with cow. Have you benefited from your own policy? The answer is in the negative. I have visited your ashram. Who is the municipal councillor who represents your own ashram in the Gorakhpur Municipal Corporation? Is she not a Muslim woman who squarely defeated your candidate?

You should have known that the people who live in the vicinity of your ashram rejected you. And what happened to the constituency you represented till you parachuted to become the chief minister? Did your candidate win the election? Any responsible person would have quit owning moral responsibility for the defeats. Instead, what have you been doing?

You have been going around the country promising good governance. What kind of good governance have you been giving to the people of UP when you cannot even protect police officers from gau rakshaks who have become a law unto themselves? I found it funny that you promised that the name Hyderabad would be changed if your party came to power there.

Yes, you have already changed the names of several places like Mughalsari and Allahabad. That is not a big deal, Yogiji. You should construct a new city like Chandigarh and Bhubaneswar were built from the scratch. Then you can name them after any person or God. Nobody would object to that. Instead, you are giving Hindu names to all Islamic names. That is out and out communalism, Sir!

The other day, I read an article on the state of library movement in the country. Your state has one of the lowest number of libraries in the country. Take any standards with which a nation’s progress is assessed. UP’s performance is the worst. In fact, your state is considered a laggard.

You are not interested in improving the educational standards of the people. If you give them good quality education, UP will become the state which not only produces prime ministers but also lifts up the country from the morass of backwardness. Now is the time for you to do something for the state. You should disband your outfit which does not believe in democracy and fair play.

I visited your ashram and I found one large hall filled with statues of your predecessors. I asked one of the security personnel there about the statues. He could not identify even one among them. I remember one of them who was instrumental in what is known as the Chauri-Chaura incident. He even “predicted” the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. He is today just a small statue in your own ashram.

I am sure you would have heard about the concept underlined by the Sanskrit saying, “Madhav Seva, Manav Seva”. What it means is that the best way of serving God is serving man. India is a mighty nation. It is mighty because its people are mighty. You wear a dress that suits you. I wear a dress that suits me. You eat the food that suits you and I eat the food that suits me. Please do not try to impose your food, dress and your beliefs on the people. Once you realise the need to respect other’s sentiments, you will stop supporting the destructive activities of the gau rakshaks and other hotheads that resulted in the needless killing of a police officer. I want UP to progress under your leadership. To that end, my best wishes are with you.

Yours etc

( ajphilip@gmail.com)

(Published on 10th December 2018, Volume XXX, Issue 50)