Birds and animals in Indian culture have always been sacred and both birds and animals have been mythologically served as vehicles for various gods and the goddesses. While tiger has been the vehicle of Goddess Durga, the bull has served as the vehicle of Lord Shiva and rats are considered as the vahana (mount) of Lord Ganesha. The Karni Mata temple near Bikaner is the only temple of rats in the country. Garuda and peacock are considered as sacred birds by Hindus.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who successfully led the state with many initiatives in combating the dreaded coronavirus has now been the credited for caring for the welfare of birds and animals who are suffering for lack of food and water because of the situation caused by Covid-19. Gehlot has made an appeal to various charitable organizations, particularly those running shelters for cows and other animals.
“The mute birds and animals have always been cared for by human beings and its part of our tradition and culture to provide them with food. I urge all the charitable organizations, individuals to work together to provide birds and animals with food, fodder and water with a view to save them in this hour of national calamity,” Gehlot said.
Gehlot showed his concern for the cows at the gaushalas which have been left abandoned in the wake of Covid-19. He has instructed the state government to issue easy permits for the transportation of fodder for the animals.
Gehlot’s appeal had large-scale impact and a number of organizations have come forward to work for the welfare of animals.
The appeal by the Chief Minister came in the wake of a circular issued by the Animal Welfare Board of India’s Chairman, Dr O P Choudhry in which all the states’ chief secretaries have been asked to ensure that no animal suffers due to the situation created by the outbreak of Covid-19.
In the wake of Covid-19, a large number of people have abandoned animals without making arrangements for their food and water.
The circular said that cruelty to animals is an offence under Section 3 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and the Supreme Court has also directed that the state should take care of the animals. The circular said that the state government should instruct the public at large to abide by the laws and take care of the animals and any violations would be punishable under the relevant laws.
After receiving this circular, the state was the first to act by issuing public instructions and the state’s animal husbandry department has been asked to do the needful to prevent the loss of cattle.
Meanwhile, the Chief Minister has announced a package of Rs 310 crores relief for BPL families. This fund will go for the immediate help of families falling in the poor section of the society. All such families who are not covered under the social security pension scheme have been provided Rs 1000 each month. Moreover, if an individual does not have a bank account, the district Collector will handle these case suitably. Separate fund allotments have been made for this purpose, making Rajasthan the first state to make cash payments to those who have no bank account.
In another development, on Wednesday, the second batch of Indian evacuees from Iran was kept in isolation at Jodhpur by the army. All the 277 persons have tested negative for Covid-19 but they have been kept in mandatory isolation. A similar facility has been created at Jaisalmer also where the evacuated Indians have been kept for the 14-day mandatory isolation.