Cow vigilantism still a fatal problem, SC issues notices to three states

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The way the Modi government gave free hand to the activists and workers of the RSS and its affiliates in the name of protection of cow, has encouraged the Gau Rakshaks to intensify their activities to stop the persons carrying cattle from one place to another and on the pretext of cow protection to harass, beat and even kill them. The country for the first time has been witnessing such inhuman and murderous activities without culpability. They have been there for a long time in the past, but under the BJP rule, the cow vigilantes have become a brutal force. Mohammad Akhlaq a middle aged man in the Uttar Pradesh was lynched by a frenzied mob only on the rumour that he possessed beef in his home. The rumour was proved wrong when the meat in question was tested in a laboratory. Pehlu Khan in Rajasthan was beaten to death when he was transporting some cattle in a truck. Blaming him that he was shifting the cattle from one place to another for slaughtering them a Haryana boy was fatally injured in a train because he was suspected to have been carrying beef in his tiffin. Such fatal incidents occurred not only in these three states but also in other states. Only sham action was taken against the killer criminals. The country was alarmed and the anguished people were criticising and condemning the Gaa Rakshaks, but only when their voice of protest got shriller, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi thought it fit to flay the cow vigilantes. He even dubbed them anti-nationals. He expressed his concern more than once and at last asked the state governments to take action against them. After holding the state governments responsible, the PM, it seemed, was relieved of his duty. However, some voluntary organizations and duty-cautious citizens approached the Supreme Court.

The Apex court took it serious and asked the state governments to deploy senior police officers to monitor these illegal activities and take stern action against the cow vigilantes with promptitude. The court also asked the state governments to appoint a nodal officer in every district to curb the vigilante groups with heavy hand. Despite the directive of the Apex court, it is observed that Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh failed to comply with the court instructions seriously. Then Tushar Gandhi, the great grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, approached the Supreme Court and filed a complaint plea against these governments. The Supreme Court on this petition, on January 29, sent notices to these states and sought their response. The plea said that despite the court directive, violent incidents were witnessed in these states. The court instructions were issued on September 6 last year, but these states, all ruled by the BJP, failed to rein in the vigilante groups. The Supreme Court bench comprising of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud issued notices to the erring states and asked them to send their response by April 3. When the matter is linked with the law and order, such attitude on the part of state authorities should be condemned in strong words.

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