Juhapura, Gujarat's largest Muslim ghetto, mulls cow shelter
Juhapura, the largest Muslim ghetto in Gujarat that is home to five lakh people, has become one of the first localities in the state to propose a cow shelter.
Ahead of assembly elections later this year, residents have started holding mohalla meetings on the issue.
The cow protection campaign was also a theme during the birth anniversary celebrations of Hazarat Ali, a major occasion.
Juhapura, home to 500,000 Muslims
Since it was established in 1973 to rehabilitate flood victims, Juhapura has expanded immensely and attracted community members from different economic strata, especially during communal violence in and around 2002.
Different groups working on the 'gaushala'
Representatives have written to the animal husbandry department about establishing a 'gaushala'. A delegation will soon meet CM Vijay Rupani.
Muslim leaders will also request the government and some Jain groups, who own land in the area, to allot them space.
An NGO or a trust would manage operations.
Anwar Shiekh of the Muhibban-E-Ahlul Bait Foundation says it should be ready by 2017 end.
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An attempt against 'divisive politics'
"Islam doesn't allow any kind of theft. We have asked community members to keep away from such elements," said Imtiyaz Ladha, another leader.
"Our community believes in preserving cows. Juhapura's initiative of setting up a cow shelter is welcome," said Dariyapur's Congress MLA Gyasuddin Shiekh.
Gujarat's strict laws on cow protection
In a first in the country, Gujarat recently made cow slaughter punishable by life imprisonment and fines of up to Rs. 5 lakh, amid various state BJP governments launching crackdowns. Transportation of cows or beef products is also cognizable and non-bailable.
CM Vijay Rupani
Congress MLA Gyasuddin Shiekh
Muhibban-E-Ahlul Bait Foundation