Supreme Court asks Centre, states why cow vigilantes shouldn’t be banned | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Supreme Court asks Centre, states why cow vigilantes shouldn’t be banned

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By
Apr 08, 2017 01:49 AM IST

The top court issued notices to Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka and Rajasthan, where a Muslim man was lynched allegedly by cow vigilantes on a highway this week.

The Supreme Court asked the central government and five BJP-ruled states on Friday to say within three weeks why cow protection groups shouldn’t be banned amid growing outrage against vigilantes accused of violence and even murder.

The vigilantes – called gau rakshaks – thrashed five men on the Jaipur-Delhi highway, leading to death of one, called Pehlu Khan, in hospital(AFP)
The vigilantes – called gau rakshaks – thrashed five men on the Jaipur-Delhi highway, leading to death of one, called Pehlu Khan, in hospital(AFP)

The directive came on a petition filed by Congress leaders Tehseen and Shehzad Poonawalla, who called for cow protection groups to be declared illegal, saying there has been a spike in instances of vigilantism. The court sought responses from Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Jharkhand and Rajasthan – all BJP ruled – as well as Congress-run Karnataka, setting May 3 for the next hearing. It also asked the Centre to reply.

Hindustan Times - your fastest source for breaking news! Read now.

The move came as the opposition attacked the government in Parliament for a second straight day for not doing enough to curb a spike in cow vigilantism. In Rajya Sabha, the Congress demanded an apology from Union minister of state for parliamentary affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi for “denying” the lynching of a Muslim man by so-called cow protectors in Rajasthan last week.

In October, the court had orally asked the states and Centre to file a response to Poonawalla’s petition. However it received no response.

On Friday, Poonawalla’s counsel, Sanjay Hegde, insisted on a response, citing last week’s lynching of the Muslim man to particularly push Rajasthan to reply.

The National Human Rights Commission also took suo motu cognizance of the attack and issued notice to the Rajasthan government demanding a detailed action report.

Cow vigilante groups became active after the BJP-led government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi took over at the Centre. They claim to protect cows from being taken to slaughterhouses.

Critics, however, accuse these vigilante groups of targeting people, mostly from the Muslim and Dalit community.

There has been a string of cow-related violence but various state governments have defended the action on the grounds of the sentiment attached to the animal, considered holy by many Hindus.

In Rajya Sabha, opposition members created a ruckus over the lynching in Rajasthan’s Alwar and sought an apology from Naqvi for his earlier comments on the incident. Naqvi said he had only denied any such violence in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh and had not referred to Rajasthan.

“A criminal, a murderer, a hooligan, or a rowdy should not be looked at as a Hindu or a Muslim. A criminal is a criminal,” Naqvi told the House.

In his petition, Poonawalla said violence committed by these ‘gau raksha’ groups have reached such proportions that even Modi called them out as people who were “destroying the society”.

The plea alleged that these groups were committing atrocities against Dalits and minorities in the name of protection of cows and they needed to be “regulated and banned in the interest of social harmony, public morality and law and order in the country”.

It sought a direction to remove alleged “violent content” uploaded on social media and hosted by the cow protection groups. It also asked that laws protecting cow vigilantes in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Karnataka be declared unconstitutional.

Unveiling 'Elections 2024: The Big Picture', a fresh segment in HT's talk show 'The Interview with Kumkum Chadha', where leaders across the political spectrum discuss the upcoming general elections. Watch Now!

Get Current Updates on India News, Gyanvapi Case, Farmers Protest Live along with Latest News and Top Headlines from India and around the world
Share this article

    Bhadra is a legal correspondent and reports Supreme Court proceedings, besides writing on legal issues. A law graduate, Bhadra has extensively covered trial of high-profile criminal cases. She has had a short stint as a crime reporter too.

Story Saved
Live Score
Saved Articles
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Monday, February 26, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On