The stringent National Security Act (NSA), which is aimed at maintaining public law and order and national security, has been invoked against three persons in Madhya Pradesh- Nadeem, Shakeel and Azam. Residents of Kharkali village in Khandwa district, Nadeem and Shakeel are butchers, while Azam is a farmer who also does odd jobs.
On Monday, February 4, they were produced before a local court, which sentenced them to jail under the NSA.
Moghat police station in-charge Mohan Singore said, “Acting on a tip-off of cow slaughtering, we raided in a village Kharkali of Khandwa district last Friday and seized a large knife and a carcass of cow from the spot.”
Even though the accused managed to flee from the spot during the raid, they were later arrested from different hideouts in Khandwa city.
Khandwa Superintendent of Police, Sidharth Bahuguna said, “Moghat police went after them and arrested two suspects — Raju alias Nadeem and Shakeel — from Kharkali village. The third, Azam, was nabbed on Monday. On Tuesday, cops found that Nadeem has a record of involvement in cow slaughter.”
The trio had earlier been booked under Sections 4, 6, 9 of Prohibition of Cow Slaughter Act.
Singore said, “On the recommendation of the SP, the District Collector Vishesh Garhapale sanctioned charges under NSA.” It allows for detention of suspects for up to a year.
SP Bahuguna claimed that the accused were arrested under the stringent law “to maintain peace in the communally sensitive area”.
However, many on the ground have stated that the Congress is following the footsteps of the BJP government by aiming to give a push to the communal agenda in the state for electoral gains.
Also Read: Eyeing Hindu Vote Bank, Congress to Open 1,000 Cow Sheds in 4 Months, at Cost of 4500 crore
Speaking with NewsClick, Badal Saroj, state committee member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) said, “The Congress is no longer following as to what can be termed as soft Hindutva. They have gone all out, following the footsteps of the BJP. On the ground level, there are no fundamental changes in terms of the sensitisation of the bureaucracy. The NSA is just another instrument being used to terrorise the minority community. It is important to remember that it is the Congress government that wanted to push for the cow slaughter ban. The Congress has started following what can be termed as a flawed political thought process.” He went on to add, “Another bigger question in terms of evidence is the fact that there is no lab in all of Madhya Pradesh that can prove it is indeed cow meat.”
Emphasising on the Congress’s communal agenda, Dr. Sunilam, former MLA of the Samajwadi Party told NewsClick, “The Congress and the BJP are trying to rake up communal forces in the region. Even if an inquiry was needed in this case, NSA need not have been invoked. This is nothing but a blatant misuse of the act, which needs to be condemned.”
Previously, in December, after forming the government, Chief Minister Kamal Nath had announced construction of 1,000 gaushala (cow sheds) in the next four months at the cost of Rs. 450 crore, and a hike in allowance for cow fodder to gaushalas – from Rs. 4.50 to Rs. 20 per day. The MP government has also revoked the previous government’s plan to build a golf course on the 100-acre cow grazing land in Bhopal.
Last time NSA was invoked for cow slaughter in MP was under the BJP government in 2016, when former BJP state minority cell vice president Anwar Mev and nine others were booked under the stringent Act. Mev was later expelled from the party.
The use of the act has become rampant, specially in the BJP ruled states. In January 2016, the Yogi Adityanath government in UP had issued a press release claiming that the NSA had been invoked against 160 persons, including the Dalit activist and commander of the Bhim Army, Chandrashekhar. He was arrested in June 2017 and released in September 2018.
Last year in December, the act was invoked against seven accused in the Bulandshahr violence that left two dead. In December itself in Manipur, Kishore Chandra Wangkhem, an Imphal-based journalist, was arrested under the National Security Act (NSA) for criticising the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the state and calling CM N Biren Singh a "puppet of PM Modi and Hindutva".
Also Read: UP Police Threatens Use of NSA, Goonda Act Against Those Involved in Cow Slaughter
With inputs from Kashif Kakvi.