BHOPAL: The Congress government in Madhya Pradesh decided on Wednesday to bring legislation against the menace of cow vigilantism.
The state cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Kamal Nath cleared the proposal to bring a bill in the coming session of Vidhan Sabha that would amend the existing Gau Vansh Vadh Pratishedh Adhiniyam (anti-Cow Slaughter Act) to punish those resorting to violence in the name of cow protection.
Once the legislation is brought in the State Assembly’s monsoon session starting July 8, MP would become the first state in the country to legislate against cow vigilantism.
According to official sources, the bill aiming to amend the anti-cow slaughter law, prescribes strict punishment ranging between six months and five years for those found guilty of violence against humans or damaging property in the name of cow protection.
Currently, all such offences of cow-vigilantism are dealt under provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPc).
In July 2018, the Supreme Court had observed that “horrendous acts of mobocracy” cannot be allowed to overrun the law of the land and issued a slew of guidelines to deal with mob lynching and cow vigilantism, besides asking the Centre to consider enacting a new law to sternly deal with such cases. The apex court had issued a slew of directions to the Centre to provide “preventive, remedial and punitive measures” to deal with such offences.
On May 22, three persons riding an auto-rickshaw, among them a Muslim man and woman were beaten up by five self-styled Gau Rakshaks (cow vigilantes) in Seoni district on the suspicion of possessing beef.
Two days later, all the five accused, including their leader Shubham Singh Baghel (self-styled district chief of Ram Sena) were arrested by Seoni police.