Amid the increasing number of incidents of mob lynching, cow vigilantism and targeting of religious minorities, the Yogi Adityanath-led government in Uttar Pradesh has proposed that the Gau Sewa Aayog would provide a certificate to the people transporting cows and the Aayog would also take responsibility of the person's security arrangements.
Chief Minister Adityanath while addressing a meeting in Lok Bhavan of the Gau Seva Aayog and Animal Husbandry Department said that, those carrying proper certificates while transporting cows would be given police protection. The Aayog should also check illegal smuggling of cows and make regular inspections of cow shelters. He said that the security and safety of cows was of utmost importance and cow shelters should be made self-reliant in terms of finances.
Recalling the Supreme Court judgment dated July 17, 2018, on mob lynching incidents, senior journalist Sharat Pradhan based in Uttar Pradesh said that the apex court had directed the central government to make a special legislation for checking the menace.
Also read: This is How Much the Yogi Government Loves Cows
Pradhan told NewsClick, "In most cases, fake people will get the certificate by Gau Seva Aayog and those who actually need it and are involved in the transporting of cows will not be to get a certificate without paying money (bribe). This is just another way of promoting bribe and targetting people whom they want to target. We won't be surprised if this is used to target Muslims because that is their objective."
When asked if the Gau Seva Aayog has taken any concrete steps to curb the rising number of cases of cow-related violence, after the SC order to state governments, Sharad said, "Adityanath only believes in political gimmicks. How would people in a state like Uttar Pradesh, where a majority of the population is illiterate and have no access to television, newspaper or radio, become aware that such laws even exist? How will the people of remote areas like Deoria or Banda get the certificate if the office is stationed only in Lucknow? It is just an eye-wash to cover up the lynching cases. If somebody did not get the certificate but is genuinely transporting cows then he will be targetted easily."
"Some retired IAS officer is made chairman of the Gau Seva Aayog or some neta (leader) will be appointed head of the Aayog, who are only enjoying the luxuries, while the rest of the staff only believe in ensuring that their pockets are filled. Who cares about the law then? It is not going to curb the lynchings anyway, instead it will just add to the chaos.”
Last year in December, Uttar Pradesh had witnessed the infamous cow related case in Bulandshahr where a police inspector and a civilian had been killed after a mob went on a rampage over allegations of illegal cow slaughter.
Meanwhile, since the court ruling, as many as 55 people have been lynched and since May 26, after the Modi government was re-elected for the second term, as many as eight people have been killed in such incidents.
The Supreme Court had asked Parliament to consider creating a new penal provision to deal with incidents of vigilantism, saying that mobocracy cannot be allowed in society. The bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra decried cases of lynching and cow vigilantism. “No citizen can take law into his hands nor become law unto himself,” the bench had said.
Also read: Sacred Cows, Disposable Humans
This is not the first time that the Bharatiya Janata Party government has come up with such a rule. In May 2017, the Modi-led central government had banned the sale of cattle for slaughter, including buffaloes, at livestock markets across the country. The prohibition was a part of the 'Regulation of Livestock Markets Rules,’ 2017. However, there was a severe backlash across the country on the basis that the regulation was unconstitutional and violated federal fundamental laws like right to livelihood and right to eat. As a result, the regulation was first modified and later the word slaughter was deleted.