With the ongoing row over banning the sale of cows for slaughter, Uttar Pradesh’s new Director General of Police (DGP) Sulkhan Singh on Tuesday issued an order, that those involved in cow slaughter and illegal transport of milch animals will be booked under the stringent National Security Act and Gangsters Act. The order to all senior police officials present in a review meeting in Lucknow stated that, “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”. Singh asked the officers to register FIRs against vigilantes when they violate the law and to prepare dossiers on them after identification with the help of intelligence networks.
Under NSA, the government can detain a person for as long as it wishes and the authorities need not disclose the grounds of detention. A person booked under the provision of Gangsters Act becomes part of a gang listed in police records. It entitles the police to keep track of those booked under the Act and issue summons to them for attendance at the local police station for questioning even if no fresh case is lodged against them. The Act permits the police to seek remand of an accused for a maximum of 60 days as compared to a maximum of 14 days under normal circumstances.
The DGP also directed State Police Services (SSPs) and Police Services (SPs) of all districts to control illegal activities committed by vigilantes in the name of cow protection of animals. The DGP has given directions to make police station in-charges aware about such trafficking and improve their intelligence networks. The notification has triggered protests from various quarters, including the Kerala government and certain BJP leaders in Meghalaya.
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Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan earlier this week said, that he will call for a meeting of all the Chief Ministers, asserting that the Union Government does not have the right to issue such an order on cattle slaughter ban. Vijayan further said that the Centre’s new rule is an impermissible encroachment into the domain of the State Legislatures which is a clear ‘violation of the spirit of federalism.’
Drawing a huge backlash from various fractions, Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Harsh Vardhan ordered that the ministry has notified the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017 to ensure that the sale of cattle is not meant for slaughter purposes. He said the seller and buyer both have to ensure that the cattle is not being bought or sold across the country’s livestock markets market for slaughter purposes.
The rules also state that the purchaser shall not sacrifice the animal for any religious purpose or sell it to a person outside the state without permission and must keep in with the state’s cattle protection laws.