India’s central state of Madhya Pradesh will set up a “cow cabinet” for the protection and promotion of cattle in its territory, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced Wednesday.

According to Chouhan, the first meeting of the “cow cabinet” will be held later this week.”Animal husbandry, forest, panchayat and rural development, revenue, home and farmers welfare departments will be included in the cow cabinet,” the chief minister wrote on his social media account, adding that the first meeting will be held on Nov.22 on Gopashtami at the cow sanctuary in Agar Malwa.

The cow sanctuary at Agar Malwa known as India’s first cow sanctuary was set up by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Madhya Pradesh government in 2017.

The cow sanctuary, Kamdhenu Gau Abhyaranya in Agar Malwa, 190 km northwest of Bhopal, the capital city of Madhya Pradesh, spread across 472 hectares of land.

Majority of Hindus consider cow to be sacred, and its slaughtering is banned in most Indian states. To defend cows, various groups have come up in rural areas of India to protect them and stop the sale of beef. The groups routinely check vehicles and sometimes beat up cattle traders.

There has been an increase in mob violence and lynchings in India over the past several years, especially of people found ferrying cows. Beef, however, is part of the diet to many minority groups in the country, who consume it without any taboo.

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