Haryana government has notified Special Cow Protection Task Force (SCPTF) in the state to better enforce The Haryana Gauvansh Sanrakshan and Gausamvardhan Act, 2015. The task force will be constituted at the state level as well as at the district level and comprise six and 11 members respectively, the notification issued by the governor reads.
The SCPTF monitoring committee at the state level, comprising of six members, will include chairperson of Haryana Gau Seva Aayog as its head apart from Special Secretary (Revenue and Disaster Management Department), Secretary/Special Secretary (Animal Husbandry and Dairying Department), Additional Director General of Police, Additional Legal Remembrancer (Law and Legislative Department) and Secretary, Haryana Gau Seva Aayog as its members.
The 11-member district-level task forces will be led by Deputy Commissioner as chairperson and include Superintendent of Police, Commissioner (Municipal Corporation/Committee), Chief Executive Officer, Zila Parishad-Development and Panchayat Department, District Attorney and Deputy Director (Animal Husbandry and Dairying) as its members.
In addition, of the remaining five members, three non-official persons will be nominated by chairperson of the Haryana Gau Seva Aayog and two persons will be from gaurakshak committees/renowned gausevaks who will be nominated by the Deputy Commissioner.
The tenure of both the state-level and district-level task forces will be of three years. The district-level committees will submit monthly report to the Chairman of Gau Seva Aayog on action taken by the them in enforcing the 2015 act.
The state-level committee will meet once every two months "to review the progress and to draw up strategies for enforcing the provisions of Haryana Gauvansh Sanrakshan and Gausamvardhan Act effectively in the state".
These task forces have been entrusted with various responsibilities such as stopping illegal transportation, smuggling, slaughtering of cow progeny, collecting information about smuggling and slaughtering, taking legal action, rescuing/rehabilitating stray cattle and helping arrange the land for cow shelters. The forces will aid in achieving the twin objectives of gauraksha and gauseva.
“The Governor is pleased to notify the Special Cow Protection Task Force (SCPTF) for every district and State Level Special Cow Protection Task Force Committee. The main objective of setting up the task force would be to enforce The Haryana Gauvansh Sanrakshan and Gausamvardhan Act, 2015 effectively by collecting information regarding cattle smuggling and slaughtering from public and further to take prompt action on such illegal activities after specific inputs received from the public. The other major role of the Cow Protection Task Force will be to rehabilitate stray cattle of the State in Gaushalas/Nandishalas/Gau Abhyaranyas. The cattle rescued from illegal transportation, smuggling and slaughtering of cattle in the State by Special Cow Protection Task Force would be rehabilitated in the Gaushalas/Nandishalas of the State," reads the government notification.
This is a major step by the Manohar Lal Khattar government to institutionalise gauraksha and gauseva within the state apparatus and prevent incidents of cow theft and smuggling, which are largely resisted by local groups that have led to many untoward incidents of these civilians getting wounded when smugglers fire upon them. The lack of police oversight and action has been the chief reason for local communities to take up the mantle of vigilance in their areas to prevent cow smuggling.
Despite passing a stringent law against cow slaughter in 2015, the conviction record in Haryana over the last few years has remained abysmal.
In April 2019, Haryana Director General of Police Manoj Yadava had submitted a report to Punjab and Haryana High Court in April which said that out of 800-odd cases filed under the act between 2015 and 2019, the police couldn’t even achieve a single conviction. And this was the situation in only one district — Nuh (formerly Mewar) which is a den of cow smuggling in the state. This led the court to pull up the government.
Whether the latest step will put a leash on the cow smugglers is to be seen. The idea of task force has been on the state government‘s ’to-do’ list for long. Even back in 2016, it was toying with the idea of a gau rakshak task force, along the lines of home guards.
Five years later, it has been implemented finally. But the state government will have to do a lot more to curb the activities of meat mafia in districts like Nuh.
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