Lucknow, July 1: In today's time of gau raksha (cow protection), states ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party are walking the extra mile to ensure that cows get the best of facilities.
It is not just mob lynchings that are taking place at a regular interval in the BJP-ruled states. In fact, we often hear leaders of the saffron party making vitriolic statements against people whom they believe are on a cow-killing spree.
Now, the Yogi Adityanath government is planning to open gaushalas (cow shelters) in prisons of Uttar Pradesh. However, the problem is that jails in the state are already overcrowded with inmates. Moreover, these jails are understaffed too.
"We have manpower and most jails have adequate land to set up gaushalas. Naini Jail in Allahabad already has a gaushala," Minister of State for Jails Jai Kumar Singh had said of government plans for jail gaushalas.
"We are looking at the possibility of starting gaushalas in other jails. Our plan is to run them with a little grant from the government and utilise the assistance from social workers and citizens," he said.
Now, the question is will overcrowded jails be able to accommodate bovines? As per reports, prisons of India's most populous state have an overcapacity of 69 per cent -- compared with the national average of 14 per cent -- and have only two-thirds of the staff they need.
The figures are a part of the 2015 prison statistics, the latest available with the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). The capacity of jails across UP is 49,434, but they hold 88,747 inmates, the data revealed. Nationally, the figures are 366,781 and 419,623, respectively.
Moreover, human rights activists have often raised the subject of living conditions of prisoners in jails.
Since 2013, the Supreme Court has been hearing a suo motu case involving inhuman conditions in 1,382 prisons in India.
We wonder, if the UP government has any plans to improve the conditions of inmates in jails.