There is a blanket ban on cow slaughter in Uttar Pradesh for the past 60 years yet it continues to trigger communal clashes, especially in the western parts of the state.
The UP Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act, 1955 bans slaughter of cow and bulls. Violations can attract imprisonment up to seven years and a fine of Rs 10,000. As per section 4 of the law the only exception when cow slaughter is allowed is when the animal is suffering from a contagious disease. But it has to be certified by an authorized veterinary doctor.
However, a senior state government officer said there is no restriction over consumption of beef or beef products.
It is also illegal to transport or sell beef or beef products in any form except for medical purposes specifically permitted by state authorities. The law restricts the transport of cow or bullock for slaughter within the state or any place outside. Cattleheads are transported under a permit issued by an officer authorised by the state government.
Also, as per the law a person can sell and serve beef or beef products for consumption to a bonafide passenger in an aircraft or a train. But, the state government can restrict the sale.
For the protection of cows seized by the police from cattle smugglers or slaughter houses, the Uttar Pradesh Goshala Adhiniyam, 1964 states that they should be handed over to ‘goshalas’ (cow sheds) registered under the law.
Animal husbandry minister Rajkishore Singh said the state government has released over 22,500 cattle from the clutches of the smugglers and booked 3,512 people involved in smuggling and illegal slaughter.
The cow and bullocks seized by the police from cattle smugglers or from slaughter houses are handed over to ‘goshalas’ (cow sheds) registered under the Uttar Pradesh Goshala Adhiniyam, 1964).
Chief veterinary officer UN Rao said when authorities seize beef, it is sent to the forensic laboratory in Mathura for test.. If the laboratory confirms that it was beef then the police registers a case against the culprits.