Published: Tue, January 30, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Supreme Court contempt notice to four states for cow mobs

Supreme Court contempt notice to four states for cow mobs

The contempt of court notice was issued on a petition filed by journalist Tushar Gandhi who alleged that 66 incidents of assaults in the name of cow vigilantism had taken place despite the court's direction in September.

The court intervened in the controversy over cow protection and initially sought responses from the Centre and six states on the issue.

The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to three BJP-ruled states - Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh - on a plea seeking contempt proceedings against the states for not implementing the apex court's order on preventing violence in the name of cow protection.

The apex court acted on a petition filed by Tushar Gandhi, great-grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, that sought contempt proceedings against Rajasthan and Haryana for not complying with an earlier order of the Supreme Court.

The bench had also pulled up the Centre saying that it could not wash its hands off the constitutional responsibility to instruct the states to take steps to save innocents from mob fury. People can not be allowed to take law into their hands. Observing that cow vigilantism was not "permissible", the court had said that "there has to be some kind of action". "As far as highway patrolling is concerned, the Chief Secretary of each state, in consultation with the Directors General of Police, shall take steps and file affidavits by the next date of hearing", the court said in its September 6 order as it was told that most such violence by vigilante groups was taking place on the national and state highways.

Cow is venerated by a large section of India's population, particularly the Hindus, and the incidents of cow vigilantism have mainly targeted people from the Muslim community. In Alwar district of Rajasthan, a 55-year-old dairy owner identified as Pehlu Khan was beaten to death on suspicion of cattle smuggling.

Last July again, four Dalit men were stripped and flogged for skinning the carcasses of dead cows at Una in Gujarat, which led to a Dalit uprising in the state and elsewhere.

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