In news: two tribal men were beaten to death in Madhya Pradesh, on the suspicion that they were slaughtering cows.
What is cow vigilantism?
Cow vigilante violence involves mob attacks in the name of “cow protection,” targeting mostly Muslims, Dalits, and tribals.
Reported incidences of cow vigilantism
- Rajasthan – A dairy farmer from Haryana was beaten to death by a mob of alleged cow vigilantes.
- Haryana – 15-year-old Muslim boy was stabbed on board a train, allegedly for beef-eating
- Gujarat – Cow vigilantes publicly flogged a Dalit family for skinning a dead cow.
- A Muslim man died after being assaulted by alleged cow vigilantes for transporting two animals.
Impact on society
- It is promoting violence in the country by bestowing social, moral, and legal legitimacy to the so-called cow protectors
- It damages the secular inclusiveness of Indian society by targeting particular communities of the country
- Economic impact – leather makers, tanners, and beef produces have been badly hit
- Stigmatization of communities such as Dalits, Muslims, and tribals for their dietary habits and their dependence on cattle products for a livelihood.
Supreme Court stand
- In 2005, the Supreme Court had justified the total ban on cattle slaughter by an expansive interpretation of the directive principles of state policy, and by relying on Articles 48, 48A, and 51(A) of the Constitution, which seeks to preserve breeds used in agriculture and animal husbandry, explicitly prohibiting the slaughter of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle, besides promoting compassion to animals.
- In recent years, Supreme Court has also raised its concern to stop the attacks on innocents in the name of cow vigilantism and has issued some directions
- It ordered the States and the Union Territories to appoint nodal police officers in every district to crack down on such groups
- It has also asked states to file status reports on what they are doing to prevent vigilantism.
- The court exhorted the Centre to uphold its constitutional mandate under Article 256 of co-operative federalism and direct the States to act against the groups.
- The court also directed the Chief Secretaries and Directors General of Police to take steps to protect the highways from vigilante mobs.
Steps to be taken
- Complete ban order must be checked against its economic impact and it must be reconstituted based on rational inputs
- A speedy trails and fair justice must be ensured to victims of the cow vigilantism
- The strong political will to uphold the rule of law
- Rajasthan, Jharkhand, West Bengal, and Manipur had passed laws against lynching, this can be adopted by other states too
- Identifying high-risk areas in every state and enforcing moral and community policing there helps fight such anti-social elements
- Stringent implementation of the Supreme Court’s direction
Indian society is an amalgamation of different religions, ethnic, cultures, and values. Keeping the right balance in this multi-featured society is very important. Our society, government, and civil society organization, all need to work in tandem to ensure violence in the name of cows does not happen.
Source: The Hindu