For the last one year, Isaaq Sheikh, a resident of Basaad village, some 4 km from the district headquarters, has been covering the horns of every cow in the city that walks past him with radium stickers.At a time when several groups claiming to be ‘Gau Rakshaks’ are killing Muslims on the pretext of saving cows across the country, there are many people who are doing the real job of sheltering cows and ensure they get clean food. Isaaq, from Pratapgarh in Rajasthan, over the years has proved to be an exemplary cow lover. He not only keeps cows at shelters but also makes sure that stray cattle do not get hit by vehicles. At night, he puts radium ring on the horns of the cattle so that they remain visible to the vehicles.Isaaq, who lives in a village named Basaad, located 4 kms from the Pratapgarh district headquarters, has been doing this work for the last one year.“Yes, it’s me,” Isaaq told DNA. “I strive to save stray animals and help avoid accidents on roads during night,” he says, adding, “The idea clicked while returning from Ajmer with my brother one night. I saw several vehicles and dead cattle by the roadside. I was thinking if there was a way to save both the men and cattle.”Isaaq got the idea of radium strips from the signboards dotting the highways. “I knew I could make a difference as radium signages are clearly visible from afar,” says Issaq, who dropped out after class 3. Isaaq comes from the same district where a Muslim man was allegedly beaten to death for stopping local body officials from women defecating in open.Isaaq, however, has remained undeterred with any of these incidents. Isaaq always carries a radium stickers with him and places it on the horns of any stray cow he sees in on the road. Locals claim that Isaaq had covered almost all the stray cows in the city.“Cows with radium horns glow in the dark across the city. You travel from the bus stand area to the Zero Mile, Gandhi Crossing, District Hospital area, Dhariyavad Toll Naka, Krishi Mandi Road. Anywhere. They are there, visible from a distance,” Anupam Pardesi, a local resident told DNA.Isaaq is happy about his efforts, “I always keep around 20 strips of radium rolls with me,” he says pointing towards the bag on his motorcycle.Isaaq managed the arrival and departure of buses at Pratapgarh city bus terminal and gets salary of Rs 35,00 per month. He has four children, three of them daughters.Does his indulgence not affect the care of the six-member family? “Main ye savaab paane ke liye karta hoon (I do it to earn blessings),” he says.
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