Yogi deserves a pat for harsher law on harming cows

NewsBharati    11-Jun-2020   
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The issue of cow slaughter has been so deer to an average Hindu that any news of cow slaughter or beef party becomes a very sensitive matter. There has been consistent demand for banning cow slaughter in Bharat for long. Some states have enacted legislation also but a non-serious approach to this issue has led us to nowhere. Slaughter of cow and smuggling of beef has become an order of the day in independent Bharat. In the Hindu tradition and culture, a cow is held in divine respect. She is regarded as ‘Kamadhenu’ fulfilling all the desires and requirements of the ancient rishis and mendicants. In the agriculture economy stage, cow and her progeny were regarded as most useful and worshipped as a goddess. The ancient texts like the Puranas contain the umpteen stories of benefits the humans derived from worshipping the cow and her progeny.
 
However, as Bharat witnessed and faced hordes of Islamic invaders the situation changed. No religious text either the Quran or the Bible permits and sanctions the slaughter of cow or treats cow as a sacrificial animal. But we see in our country cow slaughter had become a sort of ‘religious right’ of the Muslims. The Islamic rulers had one and the only objective to rule over this vast country and plunder its wealth. To minimize the resistance from the natives, they tried to attack their religious places, women, and cows which were held in very high esteem. The inability to safeguard these points of esteem, the Hindu society became demoralized and thus, fell prey to the conspiracy of the invaders. Since then killing a cow has become a sort of religious right of the Muslims.
 
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During the days of freedom struggle, the Congress tried to placate the Muslims to seek their cooperation in the freedom movement and agreed inter alia to their right to kill a cow. Mahatma Gandhi, as a devout Hindu, was dead against cow slaughter. He expressed his desire to protect the cow on a number of occasions. But in order to elucidate the support of the Muslims to the freedom movement, he tacitly agreed to their ‘right’ to kill a cow.
 
Unfortunately, this continued even after Bharat became an independent nation. The successive Congress governments did very little to assuage the hurt feelings of Hindus by banning the slaughter of cow and its progeny. It was in November 1966, the Sadhu Samaj organized a massive movement and took out a huge rally in New Delhi. Thousands of Sadhus participated in that rally demanding a total ban on cow slaughter. But the then Congress government headed by Indira Gandhi mercilessly beat those sadhus, fired at them killing hundreds of them on the spot.
 
Meanwhile, some states came out with their own criminal laws to deal with smuggling and illegal slaughter of cows. But the larger section of the ruling class was still not in favor of stopping the slaughter of the cow. On the other hand, sophisticated abattoirs like Al Kabeer, and Deonar were encouraged by those in powers to export beef to the middle east countries. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) launched a massive agitation against such abattoirs during the 90s and even an awareness campaign in the name of ‘Vishwa Mangal Go-Gram Yatra’ was organized by Poojya Shri Raghaveshwara Bharathi Swamiji, the Shankaracharya of the Ramachandrapura Math in Karnataka, and has the blessings of almost all of the revered saints of the country. The RSS and VHP also stood by this event and lent all support to them.
 
The Yatra was a joint endeavor of all the saints, environmentalists, scientists and scholars who wish to do something concrete for the protection and preservation of the cow and also to save the farmers from the clutches of untimely death. The demand for Bharatiya cow is growing worldwide due to her wider usefulness. It has scientifically been proved that the milk of Bharatiya indigenous cows decreases the cholesterol level in the blood. The Yatra was a wake-up call given by the spiritual leaders of the nation to save the cow, the village, Bharat, and the world through positive action.
 
Surprisingly, this time a large section of Muslims too came forward to support the demand of banning cow slaughter and under the leadership of Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM) a nationwide signature campaign was carried out to elicit the support of the Muslims. The MRM activists could collect some 10.5 lakh signatures of the Muslims in support of the ban on cow slaughter. This was a welcome turn in this movement. In spite of all these efforts, the slaughter of cows continued. Moreover, the smuggling of cows across the Bangladesh and Pakistan borders also continued unabated. With the change of guards at the Centre in 2014, incidents of mob lynching on account of cow slaughter or smuggling of beef suddenly increased. A lot of politics was made over such incidents and lives were lost. These incidents were tacitly used by the vested interests to create a communal rift between the Muslims and Hindus also.
 
With the growing support to this demand from the Muslims, the Darul-Uloom Deoband like religious institutions also issued ‘fatwas’ not to sacrifice a cow on the occasion of ‘Id’ as the Quran does not permit acts that hurt the feelings of the fellow citizens. This was also a welcome development. However, in spite of these positive developments, there was no let-up in incidents of cow slaughter and this probably must have compelled the Uttar Pradesh Government to amend the Cow Slaughter Prevention Act making provision for a stricter punishment for killing a cow. According to the amendment anyone who harms a cow or endangers its life would be served with seven year’s imprisonment and Rs 3 lakh fine. The new law will apply to anyone who tries to endanger a cow’s life or tries to illegally transport it or deny food and water to cattle.
 
Offences under three existing clauses will now attract imprisonment of 3-10 years and a fine of Rs 3-5 lakh. The ordinance has a clause to shame offenders. An offender's photograph and name would be put up at prominent spots in the area of his residence. This harsher punishment provisions would now prevent crimes against cows in Uttar Pradesh at least is expected. The Adityanath Government must be congratulated for its bold decisions when it comes to preserving and honoring the faith symbols of the Hindus.
 
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