SC seeks response on plea demanding ban on cow vigilante groups 

The apex court issued notice to Rajasthan, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka governments seeking their stands - Sakshi Post

New Delhi: The horrific incident of lynching of a Muslim man at Alwar in Rajasthan for transporting cows today found an echo in the Supreme Court which took note of a plea demanding ban on cow vigilante groups in five BJP-ruled states and Karnataka where the Congress is in power.

The apex court issued notice to Rajasthan, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka governments seeking their stands on the allegation that "ground level" situation in these states was worrisome as such groups were resorting to violence.

With Alwar incident fresh in the mind, a bench comprising Justice Dipak Misra and A M Khanwilkar preferred not to mince a word and decided to wait for the response of these states which since last year have witnessed a spate of such incidents by cow vigilante groups.

The apex court, which in November 2016 had asked the Centre to look into the plea for banning cow vigilante groups, has not received a response as yet with Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar today only stating that notices were not formally issued to these states earlier and the court had asked the Centre to file a response on the plea filed by Congress party activist Tehseen S Poonawalla.

Today's hearing took place in the backdrop of the issue being raked up in the Rajya Sabha for second successive day with the Congress demanding an apology from Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi for misleading the House with his statement denying lynching of a man in Alwar by such vigilantes.

"Such incidents are happening. The problem is not with the Centre but with the states and at the ground level. Rajasthan is also a party in the case," the advocate, appearing for the Congress activist, told the bench which asked these six states to respond within three weeks.

It has been alleged that cow vigilantes in Rajasthan's Alwar had stopped a truck carrying cows from a cattle fair and thrashed its occupants on April 3 leading to the death of a Muslim man.

Such incidents have been reported in past from Maharashtra when on August 21, 2016, a group allegedly chased two trucks carrying bullocks and tried to intercept them without informing the police.

The Supreme Court had on October 21 last year agreed to examine the plea which sought action against cow vigilantes who were allegedly indulging in violence and committing atrocities against Dalits and minorities.

The Congress activist in his plea has said that violence committed by these 'gau raksha' groups have reached to such proportions that even Prime Minister Narendra Modi had declared them as people who are "destroying the society".

The plea has also alleged that such groups were committing atrocities against Dalits and minorities in the name of protection of cows and other bovines and they were required to be "regulated and banned in the interest of social harmony, public morality and law and order in the country".

Seeking action against the vigilantes, the petition has said that atrocities committed by them were punishable under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of atrocities) Act, 1989.

--PTI

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