Cow vigilantism in India: Bombay HC directs police to keep check on gau rakshaks during Eid al-Adha

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Monday asked the Maharashtra police what preventive measures it proposes to take against cow vigilante groups ahead of Eid al-Adha (Bakr-Id) next month.

BJP's cattle restrictions. Representational image. AP

Representational image. AP

The court made it clear it will not frame any or guidelines rules on how the issue needs to be handled and noted that maintenance of law and order is the responsibility of the police.

A division bench of Justices BR Gavai and MS Karnik was hearing a public interest litigation filed by city resident Shadaab Patel, expressing fear that cow vigilante groups may stir up trouble during Eid.

Among other things, he demanded a helpline to deal with such groups.

The petition sought a direction to the state to take effective steps to protect citizens, especially those who deal in cattle or transport cattle, from "lynch mobs".

"Maintenance of law and order is the responsibility of the police. We clarify that we are not going to frame any guidelines or rules on how the issue needs to be handled. We only want law and order to be maintained. Tell us what preventive steps you (police) will take," Justice Gavai said.

Additional public prosecutor Jayesh Yagnik informed the court that in Mumbai, there are five registered 'Sansthas' (organisations) of 'Gau Rakshaks' (cow vigilantes). "The city police has details of these five sansthas," he said.

Yagnik said there was a 24-hour helpline service of the city police set up in case of any untoward incidents.

Several persons, including petitioner Patel's father, on Monday, sought to intervene in the matter claiming that the PIL was "malafide and was merely a political and publicity stunt" and should hence be dismissed.

The court said it would hear the matter further on 23 August.

Updated Date: Aug 21, 2017 17:26 PM

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