In the name of the ‘holy cow’: Animal activists hope SC order on lynching will bring down illegal activities

New Delhi: Animal activists are optimistic that the Supreme Court’s order on mob lynching in the name of cow vigilantism will keep a check on unabated illegal activities on the pretext of saving the ‘holy cow’.

The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday condemned rising lynching incidents across the nation and recommended the Parliament to enact a separate law to punish offenders involved in lynching incidents. It also said that horrendous acts of mobocracy cannot be tolerated and allowed to become a new norm.

Activists’ claim that for the last couple of years, organised gangs posing as animal activists would stop vehicles carrying cows and then extort money or beat the transporter and further smuggle the animal.

Naresh Kadyan
Naresh Kadyan

“No genuine animal activist is now involved in rescuing cows as this work is maligned by criminals who pose as activists but are actually running their business. Anti-social elements have maligned this job,” said Naresh Kadyan, animal activist at Haryana-based organisation Scouts and Guides for Animals and Birds.

He added, “We need to think about this – if animal activists are against animal cruelty then how can they beat or kill a human being. Cow vigilantism and giving it communal colour is just criminal activity and those involved should be booked.”

Explaining why cow vigilantism is on the rise, he said that even though there are several provisions to punish those involved in animal abuse, the enforcement of law is weak and the conviction rate is as low as 5% in such cases.

Animal activists believe that illegal trade and smuggling of cows is a multi-crore industry in India, especially in bordering areas of West Bengal. Activism on the pretext of saving cows is not just a money spinner but is also a political gimmick for many.

The first incident of cow vigilantism was seen in September 2015 when 50-year-old Mohammad Akhlaq was lynched following allegations of beef-eating and cow slaughter in Greater Noida’s Bisada village.

In April 2017, another sensational case occurred in Alwar, where dairy farmer Pehlu Khan from Nuh in Haryana was beaten to death by a mob of alleged cow vigilantes.

Abhinav Srihan
Abhinav Srihan

Abhinav Srihan, another animal activist,  said that lynching incidents have ruined years of efforts by animal activists to expose the relationship between dairy and pink revolution. They have made it a communal issue, whereas the truth is something else.

Explaining the recent trend, Srihan said that these days goons, who do not have a link with cow rescue, stop trucks carrying cattle for their personal gain.

In most of the cases, these goons are pro-dairy and are part of animal cruelty at dairy farms. They are also using these incidents to take out their hatred towards a community and in many cases personal grudges.

“It is very easy to spread rumours and accuse someone of cow slaughter and getting him lynched. Even I was attacked by such a crowd in Delhi,” Srihan said.

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Shashank Shekhar

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Shashank Shekhar works as a Deputy Editor for DB Post. He specialises in investigative, terrorism, internal security and policy-making related stories. He has an active interest in tracking cybercrime, financial fraud, technology, automobile and latest trends. He can be reached at: shashank.shekhar3@bdcorp.in Follow him on Twitter @shashankrnq