The state of Gujarat has tightened the law on cow slaughter and possession of beef and the perpetrator can be sentenced to life imprisonment.
The majority Hindu population in India considers the cow sacred and worships it with the status of ‘mother’.
Many other communities, including Muslims, have a long tradition of eating beef, oxen and buffalo meat.
But now, in view of the ‘tense’ atmosphere created in India, some progressive Muslim intellectuals say that there is nothing wrong with avoiding anything that hurts the religious sentiments of a particular community.
However, the southern Indian state of Kerala and many northeastern states have a long tradition of eating beef. It is also a fact that a large segment of India’s poor population has been eating beef (beef and buffalo meat) for nutrition as it is available at cheaper prices than chicken and mutton.
The Allahabad High Court in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh has heard a case this week questioning the use of law in Uttar Pradesh to curb cow slaughter.
The court said that this law is being used against the innocent while the use of this law should be in its spirit.
During the hearing on the bail application of one of the accused arrested under the Gaukshi Act, High Court Judge Justice Siddharth said: “This law is being used against innocent people. Wherever meat is found, it is reported to be beef without being tested in a forensic lab. In most cases, the meat is not even sent for testing. The accused are in jail for a crime that may not have happened.
The bail order states that no recovery memo is prepared when the cows are shown in possession and no one knows where the cows go after recovery.
The High Court also expressed concern over the poor condition of cows and their offspring i.e. oxen, bulls and calvesc, saying that cowsheds (where cows are kept and reared) do not accept non-lactating and old cows. ۔ They are left to wander on the streets and passers-by are also at risk because of these animals.
The court said: ‘These cows cannot be taken out of the state for fear of the locals and the police. The pastures are gone. In such a situation, these animals get lost here and there and destroy the crops.
Petitioner Rahimuddin had filed a petition in the court in this case that he has been arrested without any special charge. According to the petitioner, he was not arrested from the spot and after the arrest, the police did not even try to find out whether the reason for his arrest was beef or not.
Ten years imprisonment for slaughtering a cow
The Uttar Pradesh government had approved a proposal to amend the Gaukshi law in June during a lockdown to further strengthen it and an ordinance was issued. The ordinance was later passed by both houses during a brief session of the Legislative Assembly on August 22.
Under this, Gaukshi in UP can be sentenced to ten years imprisonment and a fine of Rs three to five lakh. He could also face up to seven years in prison and a fine of up to لاکھ 300,000 for damaging the limbs.
In issuing the ordinance, Additional Chief Secretary of the State, Onish Osthi, had said that the purpose of the ordinance was to make the Uttar Pradesh Gaudhan Protection Act, 1955 more systematic and effective. Crime must be stopped completely.
The Uttar Pradesh Gaudhan Protection Act, 1955 was enacted on January 6, 1956 and its rules were enacted in the same year. So far, the law has been amended four times and the rules twice. The government says the new amendment will help effectively protect the livestock and prevent the illegal trade in livestock.
Also prosecuted under the Gangster Act
In Uttar Pradesh, the BJP government has been working hard from the beginning to control Gaukshi and has been adamant about the open wandering of cows. The government has also ordered the construction of cowsheds in every district. Despite this, a large number of cows and other animals are not only found wandering on the roads, but also in cowsheds, there are reports of cows dying of hunger and disease.
The government has also tightened the rules to curb Gaukshi and has tightened the amended law. The first time Gokshi is convicted, he faces up to three to 10 years in prison and a fine of Rs 300,000 to Rs 500,000, while the second time he faces both punishments. Not only this, there is also a proposal to take action under the Gangster Act and foreclosure of property for committing this crime for the second time.
The government has also prosecuted Gaukshi under a number of national security laws. According to figures released by the government last month, the National Security Act has been used in most of the Gaukshi incidents in Uttar Pradesh.
More than 1700 cases in a year
According to Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Onish Kumar Osthi, till August this year, UP police has enforced NSA against 139 persons in the state out of which 76 cases are related to Gaukshi.
Regarding the large number of NSA proceedings in the Gaukshi case, Onish Kumar Osthi said that it was due to strictness of law and most of the cases have been cleared by the High Court.
In an interview with the BBC, Ovanish Osthi said: ‘The Gaukshi case is very sensitive. It causes all the trouble. Therefore, the government has taken very strict measures. The law has also been strict and strict action has been taken in such cases. There are no riots anywhere today. That is the consequence. “
Apart from the NSA, more than 1,700 cases have been registered under the Uttar Pradesh Govt Protection Act so far this year and more than 4,000 people have been arrested. However, due to lack of evidence against the accused, the police registered closure reports in 32 cases.
State of Jharkhand
A court in the northern Indian state of Jharkhand has sentenced 11 people to life in prison for killing a butcher.
Aleemuddin Ansari, 55, was tortured to death.
Many meat traders have been attacked in the past few years, but this is the first time a beef convict has been convicted of murder.
It should be noted that in many states of India, including Jharkhand, Hindus consider the cow sacred and it is illegal to slaughter it.
In many such cases, it has often been observed that the police investigation ends with the release of the accused.
Twelve people were arrested in connection with the murder of Aleemuddin Ansari, but the court adjourned its verdict on the 12th accused.
Prosecutor Sushil Kumar Shukla told The Indian Express that the court did not include the 12th accused because he was between 16 and 18 years old.
Aleemuddin Ansari’s son says his family is satisfied with the decision but is disappointed that the state has not given him any financial support so far.
Talking to media outside the court, Ansari’s wife Maryam Khatun said that her husband’s death was a great loss to her but “I don’t want any more bloodshed now.”
She said she wanted to live in peace with her family in this society.
Since the BJP government came to power in 2014, cow protection groups have launched several attacks on Muslims and Dalits.
Last year, a girl named Saba Dewan launched a campaign on Facebook against the attacks called # NotInMyName when a young Muslim boy was killed in Delhi.
Dozens of people have been killed in such attacks so far, and Muslims transporting cow’s milk from one place to another have also been targeted for misinformation.