New Delhi, India (BBN)-While the cow is revered by Hindus who do not eat beef, the same is not true in neighbouring Bangladesh, where Muslims are in the majority.
According to the Times of India, two million head of cattle are smuggled across the border.
The illicit trade is worth £385 million a year and Narendra Modi, India’s Prime Minister, is trying to stop the smuggling once and for all, reports The Telegraph.
“Killing or smuggling a cow is equivalent to raping a Hindu girl or destroying a Hindu temple,” said Jishnu Basu, a spokesman for Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the influential Hindu nationalist group which counts Narendra Modi, the prime minister, among its members.
India has 30,000 soldiers guarding the border with Bangladesh and these troops are now being given the task of bringing the smuggling to a halt.
It has seen soldiers wading through ponds and paddy fields using bamboo sticks to herd the cattle before they can be taken across the frontier.
So far Indian troops have seized 90,000 cattle and caught 400 smugglers.
The curbs has seen the price of beef cattle in Bangladesh increase by 40 per cent over the last six months.
India, which has 300 million cattle, remains the world’s biggest beef exporter and fifth biggest consumer.
But the election of Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has seen a stepping up of cow protection rhetoric.
It has seen not only the use of troops but even cow protection vigilantes.
This has led to increasingly violent clashes. Two soldiers have been killed by smugglers while one illegal trader says he was chained to a tree and beaten by members of the cow protection force.