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More stringent Cow Slaughter Prevention Act against cow smugglers and illegal slaughter houses is a welcome step by Yogi government

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When a first time Chief Minister inherits a state with population of 23 crores, higher than entire Western Europe, along with crisis of Covid-19, huge influx of returning migrants, poor health care system and several other challenging issues, how does he deal with it? A politician hires PR team to applaud himself, but a leader fights and leads from the front to bring order from chaos and despair. Next, performance is talked about without hiring a PR team. UP CM Yogi Adityanath chooses to be a leader instead of being a mere politician with theatrics. 

While fighting to contain Covid-19, setting up a commision for welfare of migrant labourers, Yogi government approved the draft of the Uttar Pradesh Cabinet Cow Slaughter Prevention (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020, on 9 June, to curb rising incidents of illegal cow slaughter during the ongoing  lockdown because of Covid-19 in the state. The idea is to make the existing law more stringent in order to stop cow slaughter completely in the state. 

Existing Uttar Pradesh Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act, 1955 had been implemented in the state on January 6, 1956. The Act was amended in 1958, 1961, 1979 and 2002. The rules were amended in 1964 and 1979. However, certain loopholes continued to remain, due to which the Act could not be implemented effectively to curb rampant illegal cow slaughter.

The 1955 Act had provision of maximum seven years of imprisonments in case “cow slaughter” was committed. Offenders used to get bail from the court, which emboldened the same offenders to commit cow theft and cow slaughter again. Numbers of such law breakers were rising. Hence, it became necessary to strengthen the Act to make it more robust and tough to protect cows and prevent their slaughter. 

The new draft ordinance provides a maximum rigorous imprisonment of 10 years and a fine up to Rs 5 lakh. For the first offence, a person can be given a rigorous punishment of one to seven years with a fine ranging from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 3 lakh. For the second offence, the person can be given a 10-year rigorous imprisonment with a fine up to Rs 5 lacs.

Under the new act, the driver, operator and the owner of the vehicle shall be charged, if it is proved that illegal transportation of cows and other bovines was carried out with their knowledge. Earlier cow smugglers used to have free run, fleeing with stolen cattle, which resulted in killing of many cow protectors creating communal tensions between two communities. 

India has always been a cow worshipping nation. The reason is more scientific than religious, as cows have been backbones of Indian families since the beginning of human civilisation. Agriculture in India in those days could not  have succeeded without cow. There was no industrial revolution, no artificial fertilisers, no chemical pesticides and insecticides. The entire Indian agriculture was based on nature’s best fertiliser—Cow Dung, and nature’s best pesticides—Cow Urine along with neem based solution. It goes without saying motherless newborn survived on cow’s milk. Slaughtering a cow amounted to killing one’s life giver. 

Life in UP is heavily dependent upon agriculture. Hence, cows, oxen and cattle play an important role in its economic and social structure. Tightening noose to prohibit cow slaughter and its illegal transportation would certainly promote agriculture and encourage milk production. 

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