Even as the so called ‘gau rakshaks’ are trying to spread mistrust against Muslims in the country, a group of members of the community have been treating wounded stray cows for six years in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Parliamentary constituency Varanasi.
Members of the group regularly come out of their homes at night to provide first aid to wounded stray cows and bulls.
Varanasi is considered to be one of the oldest existing cities of the world. While the city is famous for its narrow lanes, paan (betel), sarees and delicacies, the presence of a large number of cattle on road dents its image.
The stray cattle often get hurt by vehicles and are forced to roam around with the injury. For such helpless animals, members of Islamic Foundation of India (IFI) are like messiahs.
“Animals too have souls like human beings. Each of these souls should be treated with respect and compassion. However, their survival is tough if they are not kept as pet. Often on roads, they get hurt. In the absence of care, their injuries turn into severe wounds and take their lives. So we do our bit to save their lives,” said Rustom Ansari, founding member, IFI.
The IFI members go out at night in a group of four to five people with essential first aid items to nurse the stray cattle.
“Wherever we see cows, bulls and even dogs lying with injury, we clean their wound with liquid antiseptic. Then we apply Neem oil, required ointments and bandage the wound to save from dust and flies,” said SM Khurshid, founding president, IFI.
The IFI members have been carrying on the noble work for the last six years.
“We started providing first aid to stray animals six years ago. Since then, we have been going out to help the animals after 9 pm at regular intervals,” said Khurshid.
However, the IFI members now rue that their good work is getting affected by the ongoing controversy over cow slaughter.
Earlier people used to call up IFI members to treat injured cows but now they see their activity with suspicion.
Khursid recalled a recent incident when some people opposed IFI members while they were treating a stray cow.
“Recently, a group of people came to us and started questioning our activity when we were treating a cow at night. One of them indirectly asked us if we were trying to kill the cow. This shocked us. After the incident, we changed the timing of our drive,” he said. He further shared the discourse of ‘Hadees Pak’ which advocates consumption of cow milk and asks to stay away from its meat.
“Our activity is purely aimed at saving stray cows and bulls from diseases and nothing else. If anyone wants to join us, he or she is welcome but we request everyone not to doubt our work,” he said.