After having undergone specialised training through the Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India (EDII), 21-year-old Priyanka Rani, daughter of Purshottam Lal of Poonch district in Jammu province, had started her dream venture—a small dairy farm registered with the government under brand MS Gori Dairy Farm.
Rani, who got married last year, had started the farm with three cows. Now, in a bid to give a boost to her business, she had taken a loan from the EDII to buy more cows.
To procure a fresh stock of bovines and to ferry them to the farm in the border district, Rani’s brother, Anil Kumar had come to her help. He travelled to Jammu city for the deal where from he bought two “healthy and milking cows” with one calf each for an aggregate amount of Rs 1.80 lakh.
On April 28, while ferrying the cattle home in a Tata Mobile, the vehicle was intercepted en route by police in Rajauri district.
Anil says he showed relevant documents for transportation of cattle to the cops but they didn’t listen to his pleas. He was accused of smuggling bovines for slaughter and was whisked away straight to Sunderbani police station along with the cattle. He was booked vide FIR of 43 of 2017.
Anil says he and the cattle were kept under detention. But in the absence of feed, the cattle had fallen sick. “We begged to the cops that the cows have recently delivered calves and thus need to feed but they didn’t listen to our pleas and left them starving,” Priyanka Rani says.
As the cows remained sick and starving during the confinement, the police were reluctant to get any vet for treatment. “Finally our family paid money to SHO Sahib to get veterinary doctor who examined the sick cows.”
After four days, on May 2 Anil and starving cattle were released on court orders. But the condition of one of the cows and its calf had deteriorated by then. Within hours, the calf died and a few hours later the mother also succumbed. The other two cattle continue to be ailing since. “She is not giving milk and her condition is critical,” Rani told InUth while trying to nurse the dying cow. A veterinarian who examined the cow said she wouldn’t be able to milk anymore and that chances of her survival are bleak.
Rani says she had deliberately brought lactating cows so that the milk produced would be more. But the police action hit her plans.
Police, however, have a different story to narrate. Refuting the family version, a concerned SHO Sunderbani Police Station said they didn’t have valid permission for ferrying the bovine. He added that the vet was called by the police itself. “We had called a doctor (vet) out of our own, as it was our responsibility and part of our investigations,” the SHO said.
Senior Superintendent of Police Rajauri, Jugal Manhas said he is new to the area and that the incident took place before his transfer. “What I learnt is that he didn’t have requisite permission and this was why the case was filed.”
But the family punctures the police claims saying they have photographic evidence and proper documents pertaining to the sale and ferrying of cows. “Policemen are lying. Official documents, pictures and veterinarian who examined the cows won’t lie.”
A senior official in the EDII says Rani had shown utmost zeal during training and it was the main reason that she was granted a loan to “boost up her business”. “But now that capital got lost with the death of cows, she will end up a defaulter. We can’t help her anymore.”
Rani says her dairy farming dream is over, for no fault of her!