News Brief

To Stop Cow Slaughter, Need A Task Force Headed By Cop With ‘Secular’ Mindset: Amicus Curiae To Haryana HC

Cow smuggling in Haryana. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Snapshot
  • Lack of manpower and inadequate facilities to check for beef are some of the constraints that prevent effective implementation of the Haryana Gauvansh Sanrakshan and Gausamvardhan (HGS and GS) Act, 2015.

This correspondent has been reporting on hearings in the Punjab and Haryana High Court on the failure of the state to effectively implement the Haryana Gauvansh Sanrakshan and Gausamvardhan (HGS and GS) Act, 2015.

Under the 2015 Act, cow trafficking, slaughtering and possessing or consuming beef are prohibited in Haryana.

In March, Justice Mahabir Singh Sindhu had angrily pointed out that in many cases, the accused manage to escape arrest, putting “a question mark on registration of these cases”.

Justice Sindhu subsequently ordered the Haryana Director General of Police (DGP), Manoj Yadava, to study the cases filed under the Act.

He also appointed advocate Deepak Balyan -- an additional Advocate General with the Haryana government -- as an amicus curiae for assistance.

In the hearings, it was revealed that despite 792 FIRs (first information reports) registered under the Act in district Mewat between November 2015 and March 2019, not even a single person had been convicted so far.

After the court’s wrath on this sorry statistic, things moved a little in June.

One, the DGP ordered special training for cops in Mewat for dealing with such cases.

Two, the Haryana Cabinet, chaired by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, amended the Act to “make it more stringent” by empowering police officers to seize and inspect vehicles allegedly used for smuggling cattle or beef.

Three, a state representative told the court that the government was even considering the amicus curiae’s suggestion to restrict the transportation of cows in the state between 7 am and 5 pm.

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In the last hearing on 29 August, the court directed the amicus curiae to visit all the police stations in Mewat (now renamed as Nuh) and suggest measures for proper implementation of the Act.

Advocate Balyan submitted his report on 28 November, a copy of which has been accessed by this correspondent.

The report says that cases filed under the Act “cannot be handled by the traditional way of working of police”.

The state needs no less than a separate wing -- a special task force -- headed by an officer of the rank of Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP). “Specialized crimes require a specialized approach and personnel,” the report says.

At present, a ‘special cell’ headed by a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) is in place for such cases. However, manpower is limited. The concerned DSP is also holding the additional charge of two other police stations.

No separate building exists for the ‘special cell’, which is being run from a dilapidated office next to the Nuh (formerly Mewat) police station, the report says.

Balyan, who visited six police stations in district Nuh -- namely Tauru, Nuh, Punhana, Nagina, Bichhor and Pinangwan -- found an acute lack of manpower and infrastructure that “makes the situation beyond their control and management”.

In Tauru, a total of 30 cops of various ranks managed 84 villages, while in Nagina, a staff of 27 was responsible for 56 villages. The situation was similar in other police stations. Most stations have only two vehicles to reach the crime scenes. The ‘special cell’ has all of nine members.

The report says,

The crime under the said Act cannot be handled by the present police force in all Police Stations. It is of utmost urgency to establish a special task force to prevent cow slaughter in the District Mewat headed by Senior Superintendent of Police along with young dedicated officials with sufficient number of staff, infrastructure and resources. The Senior Superintendent of Police needs to be an expertise (sic) with a secular mind set exercising full authority to take decision without any fear and favour.

Balyan also notes that permanent check posts are needed to check illegal transportation at the borders of Haryana with west and south Uttar Pradesh as well as on major highways – the GT Road connecting Sonipat, Panipat, Karnal and Kurukshetra; the Maneser-Palwal Expressway connecting Gurugram, Mewat and Palwal; and NH-2 connecting Palwal with Mathura and Agra; and NH-8 connecting Gurugram, Rewari and parts of Rajasthan.

What’s also needed are ‘mobile laboratories‘ to check for cow meat. At present, there is no forensic laboratory in Nuh district and cops depend on the state veterinary department or a Faridabad-located forensic facility.

The inability to test for beef in time (when it’s not yet rotten), is a key reason why the accused go scot-free, the report notes.

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A rather surprising suggestion in the report is of an effort to establish harmony in Nuh. The report says this is because residents of (the largely Muslim-populated) Nuh do not cooperate or trust the police during investigations.

The report says, “...the crime remains hidden in the dark shady places in the vicinity of such area making the police personnel’s work more cumbersome. An effort to establish harmony and cordial nexus among different sections of the society is mandatory so that public at large can be benefitted.”

As the report is now with the state government for consideration, the next hearing is scheduled for 5 December.

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