New Delhi: Cracking the whip on cow vigilantism, the Centre tonight asked all states not to tolerate anyone taking law into their hands in the name of protecting cow and take prompt action against such offenders.
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 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.
Consequently laws pertaining to cow preservation on prohibition of slaughter vary from state to state.
“In states where slaughter of cows is prohibited by law, such slaughtering would be in violation of law and an offence.
“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,” it said.
The advisory said Section 39 of the CrPC requires that any person aware of the commission of certain offences or intention thereof, is required to give information to the nearest magistrate or police officer of such commission or intention.
“Therefore, if an offence is committed, or about to be committed, such an offence, or possibility of offence is required to be brought to the notice of the concerned police authorities or magistrate for appropriate action as per law,” it said.