The Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police Sulkhan Singh on Tuesday issued an order stating that those involved in cow slaughter and cattle smuggling (illegal transport of milch animals) will be booked under the stringent National Security Act and Gangsters Act, reported ANI.
“There is a need to clamp down on cow slaughter and transport of cows for the same. The National Security Act (NSA), 1980 or Gangsters Act must be invoked against criminals indulging in the same”, said the DGP to all senior officials in a review meeting in Lucknow.
Singh ordered the officers to register FIRs against violators of the law and prepare reports on them after identification with the help of intelligent networks.
This is not the first time that Uttar Pradesh has promised strict action against cow slaughter.
In 2014, the Akhilesh Yadav government had approved the Gangsters Act and the Goondas Act on people accused of cow slaughter. The State government had made an amendment to both the Acts to include the offence.
Under the NSA, the state or the Centre can hold someone in preventive detention without bail or trial for up to a year, if they believe the person to act in a manner that poses a threat to the security of the state/country or disrupts public order. The government need not present the reason for detention.
On the other hand, the Gangsters Act allows for the inclusion of a person in a gang listed in police records. It entitles the police to keep a record of those booked under the Act and issue summons to them for attendance at local police stations for questioning even if there have been no fresh cases lodged against them. The accused can be detained for a maximum of 60 days as compared to a maximum of 14 days under normal circumstances.
However, as reported by The Hindu, the DGP’s order missed two crucial points – firstly, it did not specify the circumstances under which the two acts will be imposed, and secondly, his instructions, comprising of over 30 points, does not mention self-designated “gau rakshaks”.
The notification has triggered protests from various parts of the country, including Kerala and certain BJP leaders in Meghalaya.
Earlier, the Centre’s ban imposed on the sale of cattle for animal markets across India also attracted huge protests from across the nation. Northeastern states, West Bengal and Kerala were against the order. The Kerala CM had also said that the Union government does not have the right to issue such an order which is a “violation of the spirit of federalism.”
The Logical Indian remains sceptical on the practicality of the new notifications issued by Uttar Pradesh. At a time when people are losing their lives to the so-called ‘gau rakshaks’, it was necessary that states protect the common man. Instead, the UP government has given more power to the vigilantes by allowing police detention, without providing any reason, of anyone suspected of cattle slaughter or smuggling.