On Thursday, the Delhi High Court requested a response from the central government and the Delhi government in response to a plea asking the court to stop cow slaughter in the national capital.
The petition asked for court directions to establish separate cow protection cells in each of Delhi’s districts.
After hearing the petition, a bench consisting of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad issued notices to the Center, the Delhi government, and the Delhi Police. It set a follow-up hearing for May 17 and gave the authorities six weeks to submit any counteraffidavits or status reports in the case.
The central government standing counsel Ajay Digpaul and Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma asserted that “cow is respected in this country” during the hearing on Thursday.
According to the petitioner Ajay Gautam, there are 15 districts in Delhi with more than 200 police stations and 52 police posts, totaling about 80,000 police officers.
“Only 38,000 police persons are deputed in police stations and rest of the strength is deputed in battalion and other units. Despite the presence of such a huge force, there have been rampant incidents of cow slaughter in Delhi,” the plea claimed.
It alleged that Mewat in Haryana, about 85 km from Delhi, is infamous for cow slaughter and people from the area smuggle cattle out of Delhi and take them to Mewat to slaughter them.
“In fact, incidents of cow torture and slaughter increase manifold during Bakra-Eid when cow-smugglers break horns of cows and dump innocent animals in their tempos after throwing red-chilly in their eyes…. Whenever a person who reveres the holy cow as his mother, witnesses such incidents of ill-treatment and tortures of cows, it becomes impossible for him to tolerate it and sometimes situation gone out of control,” the plea said.
In many cases, the plea added, the “gau sevaks” reach the crime scene first and the police arrive later.
“Impounding of vehicles transporting cow’s meat is a very common occurrence,” it said, adding that often this results in communal tension in the area.
The petition said the Delhi Police is empowered to make a special cell or unit for protection of cows to avoid conflict between cow smugglers and gau sewaks under the Delhi Police Act.