During the recent Varanasi visit of PM Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe, Varanasi Municipal Corporation (VMC) decided to capture and cage bulls and other strays, to give a hassle-free passage to VIP cavalcade.
A report published by The Times of India said the civic body caged 60 bulls and other stray animals roaming on roads, particularly near Dashashwamedh Ghat, where the two VIPs were going to see the Ganga Aarti.
It has been nearly two weeks since the PM’s visit, that the roaming bulls and cows on the city streets, one of the biggest markers of Varanasi, have all disappeared.
According to veterinary officer Aslam Ansari at VMC, these bulls would soon be transported to a goshala in Mirzapur district.
The reason? As no one owns these bulls, they are posing the issue of maintenance with the municipal corporation, as it costs to release a caged animal.
Though there is no mention of how much it would cost to release these bulls in Kashi, to give you an estimate, the chart at the kanji house (animal pound) reveals that to release a caged buffalo or cow costs about Rs 350 penalty, along with Rs 25 per day for its feed at the pound.
It must also be noted that bulls are rarely caught in Varanasi as they are highly respected by locals because of their connection with the Lord Shiva.
Reflecting this belief, Swami Avimukteshwaranand Saraswati, chief disciple of Dwarka’s Shankaracharya Swaroopanand Saraswati told TOI:
“Saand to Kashi ki pehchan hai, usko pakadna aur bandh karna Kashi ki pehchan mitaane ki saazish hai,” (Bulls are the identity of Kashi. Caging them is a conspiracy to wipe out Kashi’s identity).”