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Cow nationalism and the Courts

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Cow nationalism and the Courts
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The cow has in the present times, become a national obsession more than just a name of an animal.

A dairy farmer Pehlu Khan, from Haryana was beaten to death in Alwar, Rajasthan on last April 1. His mistake was transporting cows in his vehicle. He had documents with him which said that he was transporting the animals for dairy purposes. Still, the cow vigilantes led by the Sangh Parivar brutally beat Khan, killing him. The police on the other hand, registered a case against Khan and his aide. Reports of people being attacked and killed for transporting cows have become commonplace in North India. But no voices are heard raised for those innocents who are publicly attacked or beaten to death. At the same time, the Youth Congress members publicly butchering a calf as part of their protest raked up a national controversy. National television channels held discussions on the matter and more than one protest rallies were organized in Delhi. Rahul Gandhi himself directly intervened in the issue initiating disciplinary actions against the Youth Congress supporters. Given the volatile atmosphere presently existing in India, all these instances prove that cows are valued more than human lives in the country. A recommendation by Rajasthan High Court Judge Mahesh Chand Sharma on Wednesday should be particularly taken notice of. The judge recommended that the cow should be declared national animal of India and those slaughtering cows should be given life terms in prison. He has also directed the Rajasthan Chief Secretary to bring the matter to Centre’s attention and adopt the required procedures. An interesting fact is that the recommendations weren’t made while considering any case related to cow slaughter. The High Court judge issued the rare and odd observation while hearing a petition on the management of a Jaipur government-run cow shelter.

In the backdrop of the latest controversial notification issued by the Union Environment Ministry banning sale of cattle for slaughter, a Public Interest Litigation filed by Youth Congress challenging the order had come before the Kerala High Court on Wednesday. The High Court had backed the Centre’s move. The court also reminded that all the protests wouldn’t have happened if the notification was read carefully. It’s astonishing why the court was talking about protests while considering a plea filed against the Centre’s notification. The cow-related incidents are happening in the country in such a way that it shook one’s logical consciousness. Pro-cow ideologies have now grown to the same levels as lunacy and fanaticism. In such cases, it’s the courts that should maintain a sensible stance. And in that case, one should ponder over the category in which the recommendations of the Rajasthan High Court falls.

The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court on Tuesday stayed the Centre’s gazette notification. The verdict stayed a notification that rejects the theories of federalism and infringes upon the food habits of the citizens, and is relevant in the present scenario. While the Rajasthan court demands a life term in jail for those slaughtering cows, the Madurai court stayed the Centre’s move. All these factors are more than sufficient to raise skepticisms in the minds of people as to whether the courts actually reach verdicts based on theories in the Constitution and the law. They cannot be blamed if they doubt whether the court rooms have turned into mere institutions that pass verdicts driven by national lunacy and regional sentiments. The escalating cow-related violence is likely to split the nation along sectarian lines. Even courts are doubted to be a part of such moves. It’s therefore time for those sensible to act appropriately.

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