SC is­sues no­tice to govt over in­crease in cow vig­i­lan­tism

Three days af­ter man is lynched in Ra­jasthan, court also asks six states to ex­plain hike in such cases

DNA (Delhi) - - INDI - DNA Cor­re­spon­dent

New Delhi: Three days af­ter dairy farmer Pehlu Khan died of in­juries af­ter be­ing al­legedly beaten up over sus­pi­cions that he was smug­gling cows, the Supreme Court on Fri­day is­sued a no­tice to the Cen­tre and six states ask­ing them to ex­plain the in­creased in­stances of vig­i­lan­tism in the name of cow pro­tec­tion.

Ut­tar Pradesh, Ra­jasthan, Ma­ha­rash­tra, Jharkand, Gu­jarat and Kar­nataka are the six states that a bench com­pris­ing Jus­tices Di­pak Misra and AM Khan­wilkar is­sued the no­tice to.

The move came on the heels of a pe­ti­tion filed by ac­tivist Tehseen Poon­awalla, who con­tended that there were sev­eral in­stances in the re­cent past in which cow pro­tec­tion groups had taken the law into their own hands and re­sorted to vi­o­lence on Dal­its, mi­nori­ties and other peo­ple in the “name of pro­tect­ing cows and other bovine species”.

De­spite Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi’s Au­gust 6, 2016 re­marks that al­most “70-80 per cent” of gau rak­shaks were “anti-so­cial el­e­ments” who were run­ning “shops” in the name of cow pro­tec­tion, there has been a marked rise in in­stances of cow vig­i­lan­tism.

“The men­ace caused by the so­called cow pro­tec­tion groups is spread­ing fast to ev­ery nook and cor­ner of the coun­try and is cre­at­ing dishar­mony among var­i­ous com­mu­ni­ties and castes,” Poon­awlla con­tended.

The ac­tivist sought for three is­sues to be ad­dressed — dis­band­ment of the vig­i­lante groups, fil­ter­ing of so­cial me­dia con­tent uploaded by cow pro­tec­tion groups, and strik­ing down laws or pro­vi­sions that pro­tected the vig­i­lante groups.

Ap­pear­ing for Poon­awalla, Sen- ior Ad­vo­cate San­jay Hegde spoke of 55-year-old Khan’s death as an ex­am­ple of vi­o­lence be­ing per­pe­trated over mere sus­pi­cion of cow smug­gling. Apart from Khan, Mo­hammed Akhlaq — who was lynched by a mob in UP’s Dadri in Septem­ber 2015 over sus­pi­cions that he had kept beef in his house — also found a men­tion in the pe­ti­tion.

“The pe­ti­tioner humbly sub­mits that the state gov­ern­ments pro­vide iden­ti­fi­ca­tion cards to such vig­i­lantes. These vig­i­lante groups in the garb of cow pro­tec­tion en­joy pro­tec­tion from the state gov­ern­ment,” the pe­ti­tion read.

Poon­awalla also al­leged that the rise in cases of vig­i­lan­tism was only pos­si­ble due to the com­plic­ity of the po­lice and other law en­force­ment agen­cies. “Is­sue a writ of man­damus di­rect­ing the re­spon­dent state gov­ern­ments to take im­me­di­ate and nec­es­sary ac­tions against the cow pro­tec­tion groups in­dulging in vi­o­lence,” Poon­awalla sub­mit­ted, say­ing that the state law en­force­ment agen­cies were mute spec­ta­tors to this phe­nom­e­non.


Cows be­ing trans­ported to a slughter­house

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