The Madhya Pradesh government has cleared a bill to strengthen laws against cow vigilantism. The cabinet has cleared a proposal to bring a bill to amend the existing Gau Vansh Vadh Pratishedh Adhiniyam.
The new bill, if passed in the coming assembly session, will have provision of sending convicts to jail for 6 months to 5 years and also a fine of up to Rs 50,000. The existing cow protection regulation has no provision of a jail term or fine.
"In most of the cases we have seen organisations like Bajrang Dal used to harass people, extort money from people ferrying cow, but now cattle transporters can take NOC (No Objection Certificate) from Tehsildar or SDM (Sub-Divisional Magistrate), because most of them do not carry documents to show whether the cow being transported is going for slaughter or for sale, and often end up being harassed or bashed up by gau rakshaks (cow vigilantes). They can paste that NOC on the windscreen, but then also if somebody harasses them we had made provisions for strict action," Animal Husbandry Minister Lakhan Singh Yadav told NDTV.
The opposition BJP, however, said that new Congress government is being vindictive and playing communal politics. "The government is playing communal politics. Why not act against all kinds of mob lynching? Why only against gau rakshaks? Because they are from the majority community? What BJP had enacted was cow protection act to save the progeny. There are provisions against mob lynching and violence under IPC (Indian Penal Code) as per the guidelines of Supreme Court," BJP Spokesperson Rajnish Agarwal said.
The Congress government had promised stricter laws against mob lynching in the name of cow protection before to coming to power in state elections late last year.
Last month, three people in an auto-rickshaw were beaten up by five self-styled gau rakshaks in Seoni district on the suspicion of possessing beef. Two days later, all the five accused, including their leader district chief of Ram Sena Shubham Singh Baghel were arrested by the police.