Taking a lesson from Seoni incident, May 22, 2019, the Madhya Pradesh Congress government has decided to take stern action against those who resort to violence in the name of cow protection.
In Seoni district of the state, three persons including a woman were brutally beaten up by cow vigilantes in suspicion of carrying beef last month. The issue was picked up by the media and it drew national attention. The incident led the state government to frame law in this matter.
The state cabinet on Wednesday gave its nod to amend Gauvansh Vadh Pratishedh Adhiniyam (Anti-cow slaughter Act) and put up in the state assembly. The proposed amendment says, ‘those carrying cow flesh, indulging in violence or those caught for violating the law or damaging property a punishable offence. And they would be jailed for minimum six months, up to three years. Besides, depending on the degree of the crime, there would be a provision of fine between ₹25,000 to 50,000.
At present, such offences are dealt with by the IPC and the CrPC sections.
Earlier, North-East states have made such laws to stop cow vigilantes. But Madhya Pradesh would be the first state amongst the bigger states of the country where such a law would be made to check violent incidents.
Speaking over the issue, Additional Chief Secretary of Madhya Pradesh Animal Husbandry Department Manoj Shrivastava said, “If the crowd indulges in cow violence the minimum punishment would be one year, up to five years of imprisonment. In case, anyone indulges in the same crime twice, the punishment would be doubled.”
“The proposed amendment also carries stringent laws against those who provoke the crowd for the cow violence,” he added.
The incidents of mob lynching have come up in the name of cow protection across the country. According to a Reuters report, a total of 63 cow vigilante attacks had occurred in India between 2010 and mid 2017, mostly since the Modi government came to power in 2014. In these attacks between 2010 and June 2017, "28 Indians – 24 of them Muslims – were killed and 124 injured", states the Reuter's report.
And according to Human Rights Watch, between May 2015 and December 2018, at least 44 people – including 36 Muslims – were killed in such attacks. Police often stalled prosecutions of the attackers, while several BJP politicians publicly justified the attacks. In more than 100 attacks, about 280 people have been injured between the same period, the report says.
Earlier, the state government took two important steps to prevent cow violence: First, it scraped the law which barred the sell of cows except in pashu mela. Second, it agreed to frame laws to transport cows. So, the farmers are not only able to sell and purchase the cows anywhere and transport their animals but also police can identify it.