To begin with, the Supreme Court on September 6 made it clear in no uncertain terms that attacks on innocents by cow vigilantes must stop. It took a great step towards preventing crimes and violence committed by cow vigilante groups by directing States to appoint a senior cop as nodal officer in each district to monitor such incidents and ensure that culprits are nabbed promptly and punished swiftly. It is really a very good step which shall go a long way in checking attacks and violence by cow vigilantes which till now largely went unhindered and unabated.
For my esteemed readers exclusive indulgence, let me also inform them that the Supreme Court directed the Chief Secretaries and Directors General of Police to take steps to protect the highways from vigilante mobs. The Court directed the Centre to respond to a submission by senior advocate Indira Jaising for Tushar Gandhi, that the government cannot wash its hands of its constitutional responsibility under Article 256. The Centre should reply to this argument in the spirit of “cooperative federalism”.
According to senior advocate Indira Jaising, the crimes mostly occurred on mere suspicion that the victims were transporting cows for slaughter or had consumed beef! Jaising and another senior, eminent advocate and former Law Minister Kapil Sibal also very vigorously raised the cases of Pehlu Khan who was assaulted on and who died in Alwar in Rajasthan in most dastardly manner by vigilantes over suspicion of cow smuggling and said that far from getting justice, the kin of the victims were being harassed through counter-cases. This is certainly most reprehensible and calls for strictest action against those guilty of perpetrating such heinous crimes! Under no circumstances can this allowed to go unchecked and unpunished! Most importantly, the counter-cases should be removed immediately against the kin of the victims by the police.
Before proceeding ahead, let me give a short brief on the major incidents that happened this year in 2017 alone till now. They are as follows: -
: Villagers beat to death two Muslim men transporting cattle in West Bengal’s Jalpaiguri district.
: Hafiz Junaid, a 16-year-old boy is stabbed to death and four others are injured on board at Mathura-bound train by attackers who call them “anti-nationals” and “beef eaters”.
: A group of students at IIT Madras allegedly thrash PhD scholar R Sooraj for participating in a beef festival.
: Three men are beaten up by a group of men in south Delhi’s Kalkaji for transporting buffaloes in a ‘cruel’ manner.
: Dairy farmer Pehlu Khan is assaulted by vigilantes over suspicion of cow smuggling in Alwar. He dies .
Apart from this, there are many more cases of violence which largely go unreported as the victim prefer to suffer violence quietly instead of complaining to the police and this holds true especially when the victim are poor and underprivileged! We all know how Mohammad Akhlaq was lynched two years ago on allegations of beef eating and cow slaughter. We all also know how in July 2016 cow vigilantes publicly flogged a Dalit family for skinning a dead cow in Una of Gir Somnath district in Gujarat. All this has to end if we are to really pride in calling ourselves a true democratic country.
Briefly stated, the Apex Court asked the counsel for 22 states to file compliance reports by and fixed as the date for hearing the PILs. It also made it clear that, “Let the compliance reports be filed…nobody can wash off their hands (from their duty). We will give directions to all the states”. The direction came after the Bench was informed that only five states – Rajasthan, Karnataka, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat – have carried out the order so far and that Bihar and Maharashtra would be filing it during the day. The Apex Court also asked States and Union Territories to comply with its September 6 order to appoint nodal officers by to deal with cow vigilantism.
Sanjeev Sirohi, Advocate,
s/o Col BPS Sirohi,
A 82, Defence Enclave,
Sardhana Road, Kankerkhera,
Meerut – 250001, Uttar Pradesh.