Centre asks states not to tolerate cow vigilantism
Home Ministry advisory came two days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi denounced cow vigilantes and asked people to beware of its ‘fake’ protectors trying to divide society and the country and asked the states to severely punish them.
The advisory said historically cattle have a very special, respected and venerated status in Indian culture and history and even the father of the nation had stated that ‘cow protection to me is not mere protection of cow, it means protection of that (which) lives, is helpless and weak in the world’.
However, that does not entitle any individual or group of persons to take action on their own to prevent the alleged slaughter or punish the alleged wrong doers.
“Recently, some incidents have been reported where certain persons or groups have taken law into their hands in the name of protecting cows and have committed crimes in pursuance thereof. This is not an acceptable situation,” the advisory said.
“The states are, therefore, enjoined upon, and expected to ensure that any person who takes law into his/ her own hands is dealt with prompt, and punished as per law. There should be no tolerance at all for such persons and full majesty of law must come to bear on them, without exception,” it said.
The advisory said no person can, under any circumstances, take the law into their hands and any person, or persons, doing so have to be dealt with strictly under the relevant laws, and brought to justice in the quickest possible fashion, for the strictest punishment.
The central government initiative came at a time when the Modi government and BJP are facing flak over incidents of violence against Dalits and Muslims by cow vigilantes in various states including Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.
Quoting the Directive Principles of State Policy, which provides for the preservation of cows, the Home Ministry advisory said the state shall endeavour to organise agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines and shall in particular, take steps for preserving and improving the breeds, and prohibiting the slaughter of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle.
Entry 15 of the State list of the 7th Schedule allocates the work of ‘Preservation, protection and improvement of stock and preservation; veterinary training and practice’ to the states, it said.