Amid an uproar over cow vigilantism, the Haryana government has decided to carry out police verification of all members of the ‘gau raksha dals’ (cow protection groups) in the state and is considering issuing them identity cards.
Haryana government’s ‘Gau Sewa Ayog’, which carries out activities for protection of cows, said the step will prevent unscrupulous elements from extorting money and harassing people in the name of cow protection.
“We have decided to get the police verification done of all the gau raksha dals working in the state. Once the verification is done, we may issue them i-cards which will be their identity,” Ayog’s chairman Bhani Ram Mangla said.
“This step is aimed at stopping any fake cow protectors from extracting money from people and thrashing innocents in the name of cow protection and it will also help in exposing those unscrupulous people who operate as gau raksha dals,” Mangla said.
“Gau raksha dals will only inform the police once they come to know about cow smuggling or cattle being taken for slaughter. They will not take law into their hands. It is for the police to take action against cow smugglers,” said Mangla.
The Haryana government’s move came two days after the Union home ministry issued an advisory asking all states to take prompt action against anyone sidestepping taking in the name of protecting cows.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had denounced cow vigilantes and asked people to beware of the ‘fake’ protectors trying to divide society. He has asked states to punish the self-styled cow-protectors.
Last month, Dalit men were brutally thrashed by cow vigilantes in Gujarat’s Una town for skinning a dead cow. Later, it was found the cow was killed by a lion.
Mangla claimed that Haryana has not seen any violent incident in the name of cow protection and said there could be 5-6 gau rakasha dals in every district.
“We have received a list of 100 such groups whose police verification will be done,” he said.
Notably, the Haryana government had already entrusted senior Indian Police Service officer Bharti Arora with the task to supervise and monitor the functioning of teams constituted in all districts to effectively check slaughter and smuggling of cows.
Mangla said a toll-free helpline will also be set up in Gurgaon. Among other initiatives, Haryana Gau Sewa Ayog has planned to provide financial helps to cow shelters.
“We have plans to set up a bio-gas plant in a village whereby power generated from the unit will be supplied to the village. Pesticides, disinfectants and manure will also be made from cow urine,” he said.
In Haryana, there are 3.20 lakh cows in Gaushalas and 1.17 lakh are stray cows, he said.
Haryana Gau Sewa Ayog has already proposed that the Bharatiya Janata Party government in the state levy ‘cow cess’ to generate funds for welfare of the cows.
For protection of cows, the Haryana assembly had in March 2015 passed a bill for a complete ban on cow slaughter and provides for a rigorous imprisonment ranging from three years to 10 years for killing the animal.
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