The indestructible cow shelters in the Aravallis

The municipal corporation of Faridabad doesn’t hesitate to demolish marriage halls, farmhouses and boundary walls. But cow shelters? They remain unscathed.

By Ayush Tiwari& Basant Kumar, Newslaundry

Shambhavi Thakur

Read the entire article at Newslaundry


Cow shelters seem to be the charity of choice in Ankhir and Mewla Maharajpur villages of Haryana’s Faridabad district. Most of them are built on land protected under the Punjab Land Preservation Act, which is barred from “non-forestry” activities.

Haryana’s former environment minister Vipul Goel and local BJP councillor Kailash Baisla claimed to run cow shelters on their properties, which were listed as encroachments into forest area, as reported by Newslaundry in the first part of this series on environmental degradation in the Aravallis.

The majority of the cow shelters are run by religious organisations that are registered as charities, like the Vishva Hindu Parishad and Shri Sidhdata Ashram. When Newslaundry contacted these organisations, they refused to share their net worth or what they earn from these compounds, which usually include a temple and a residential block in addition to the cow shelter.

Framed as both charitable work as well as religious service (and even agriculture, in case of Shri Sidhdata Ashram), cow shelters seem to be beyond the reach of the administration’s disciplinary arm. Meanwhile, forests in the Aravallis continue to be encroached upon and a precious ecological asset is steadily depleted.