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India

Indian court condemns misuse of cow protection law

Uttar Pradesh court grants bail to man jailed for an offense that may not even have been committed

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Indian court condemns misuse of cow protection law

Protesters rally in New Delhi in April 2019 to condemn a mob lynching in Jharkhand state. (Photo: UCA News)

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A court in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh has criticized the misuse of the Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act 1955 against innocent persons, especially minority groups.

While hearing a case on Oct. 26 of a man accused of cow slaughter and sale of beef, Allahabad High Court said that whenever any meat is recovered, it is normally assumed to be beef without it being analysed by a forensic laboratory.

The court stated that the defendant Rahmuddin remains in jail for an offense that may not have been committed and faces a maximum sentence of up to seven years.

“The famous quote of Buddha has once again proved to be true that ‘Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon and the truth.’ We are happy to see that justice is seen to be done, not merely said to be done,” A.C. Michael, a former member of Delhi Minorities Commission, told UCA News.

“To keep the citizen of a democratic country in jail without any proof or evidence is a crime. Criminal procedures should be initiated against the police officials concerned.

“In fact, I would appeal to the Allahabad High Court to take suo moto action against them, which will send a strong message to other officials who do it to keep their political bosses happy.”

Meanwhile, the court was informed that there was no allegation against Rahmuddin in the first information report and he was also not arrested on the spot. Considering the material on record, the court allowed his bail plea.

The court said that whenever cows are recovered in such cases, no proper recovery memo is prepared and there is no established procedure regarding where the cows end up later.

"Gaushala or cow sheds run by the government do not accept non-milch cows or old cows and they are left to wander the roads, becoming a menace as well as risking their own health,” the court said.

Justice Siddharth also spoke about the fear of police and certain sections of people that means cows cannot be transported outside the state.

Cow vigilantism gained widespread attention when Mohammad Akhlaq, a Muslim farmer from Dadri, Uttar Pradesh, was lynched for allegedly possessing beef in his house in September 2015. However, laboratory tests proved the meat was not beef.

Minorities say that since the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power in 2014, such incidents have increased with no government official condemning them.

According to IndiaSpend, at least 25 people have been killed in cow-related violence since 2010 and 21 of them were Muslims.

“The BJP came to power in the center as well as in Uttar Pradesh only because of hate politics. Their only agenda is to divide people in the name of caste, creed and religion and they have succeeded in the divide-and-rule system,” Muhammad Arif, chairman of the Center for Harmony and Peace, told UCA News.

“They speak about cow protection but are they really serious about that because there are more than 5,000 cow sheds run by the government where cows are dying of hunger and disease?

“Blaming minorities, especially Muslims, is nothing new for the BJP. The Muslim community is targeted for everything.”

According to media reports, there are over 5,000 temporary cow shelters housing nearly three million cattle, in addition to 92 gaushala run by state municipal bodies, housing nearly 21,000 cattle, in the state.

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