8 november 2015

Sheep – as victims of the cotton campaign

On October 30th, the police seized six cows and 32 sheep from Ulugbek Botirov, a resident of the Mahalla Huja Ilgor, farm Amir Timur in the Yakkabag district of Kashkadarya region. By an unfortunate coincidence, the unsuspecting cows and sheep ran free around the farm, which had not fulfilled the plan for cotton harvesting.

As Manzura Turobova, the wife of Ulugbek Botirov told, the Yakkabag district prosecutor ordered the police to take the cattle from farmers who did not comply with the state requirements for the “white gold”.

Here’s how Manzura Turobova told this story:

“I have two little children. My husband Ulugbek Botirov is responsible for the irrigation at the farming of Gayrat aka. On October 30th at 6 pm, my husband brought our sheep and cows from the pasture to the village. Some of them belong to us, some of them to other villagers. Suddenly, two police officers, without explanation took away the whole herd. They took six cows and 32 sheep, of which six cows and 5 sheep belonged to us. The reason: It turns out that Gayrat, the farmer, had not fulfilled the plan for cotton this year. And it turned out that the district prosecutor had ordered the police to take away the cattle from those who failed to comply with the plan.

My husband shepherded the herd of farmer Gayrat’s field. The police officers thought that the cattle were owned by the farmer and took them away.
They did not even ask who owned the cows and sheep, did not try to identify the real owners. I do have any written act confirming the confiscation of the livestock. They just took it away; they gave us no sort of paper. After that, my husband went to the district prosecutor’s office for four days in the hope of gaining back the cattle. But the prosecutor did not let him in. No one wanted to listen his statement.

Leaving my children at home, together with my 80-year-old mother in law, I was forced to go to the prosecutor’s office. My mother-in-law has already had a stroke in the past. She can barely move her legs. But we wanted to go to the office of the prosecutor.
But we were not allowed in. The prosecutor did not take into account any retirement or disability of my mother-in-law. This day, it was pouring rain. We, in this weather, were sitting on the damp ground in front of the prosecutor’s office the whole day waiting for the reception of the prosecutor. Still useless.

The prosecutor, in order to avoid a meeting with us, circumvented the building. Even after the end of the day he was hiding from us. In the end, when he left the prosecutor’s office, I stood in front of his car, “Either you kill me or you give me back my cattle. My mother-in-law bought 5 of the sheep from her own pension and kept them for her funeral. 6 of the sheep belong to my children. If you won’t give it back to me, you can also just crush me with your car!” With these words, I stood in front of the prosecutor.
The prosecutor said that the cows and sheep have already been sold. He said that I can pick up some cows in Shakhrisabz from a butcher named Bayuk, and he will give him the money himself. We found a butcher, and he gave us some cows.

But we still have not gained the 32 sheep that belong to us and our neighbors. Every day, the neighbours are hammering at our doors, almost breaking them, demanding the return of their cattle.

The prosecutor said that we had to thank him for returning the cows and that the sheep would not be returned.

We were not given any document for the withdrawal of the sheep. We do not know to whom and at what price they were sold. Nobody listens us. The prosecutor has ruined my family! What shall we do now?”

Recorded by
Malokhat Eshonkulova

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