Bombay HC asks police about preventive measures against gau rakshaks

A division bench of Justices B R Gavai and M S Karnik were hearing a matter seeking action against self-proclaimed gau rakshaks in the state. The petition had raised apprehension that these cow vigilante groups could especially cause trouble during the Bakrid.

The Bombay High Court Monday asked the state police to inform them about the preventive measures taken by them relating to cow vigilante groups ahead of Bakrid, which will take place next month.

Maintenance of law and order is the responsibility of the police. We clarify that we are not going to frame any guidelines 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 to monitor the situation, Justice Gavai said.

Appearing for the petitioner, advocate Waris Pathan who is also an AIMIM MLA, informed the court that they wanted some guidelines to be formulated in this matter especially considering the fact that cattle would be brought into the state from various points which might lead to action by cow vigilante groups.

We want some guidelines to be formulated so that sacrifice takes place peacefully on Bakrid, he said.

He further added that this had become an issue throughout the country and the safety of citizens needed to be ensured in such a scenario. Additional public prosecutor Jayesh Yagnik informed the court that in Mumbai, there are five registered organizations of Gau Rakshaks.

The city police have details of these five organizations, he said adding that there had been no such incident in Mumbai. Yagnik said there is a 24-hour helpline service of the city police set up to tackle any unwanted incidents.

The court said it would hear the case further on August 23. The petition seeks directions to the state to take steps to protect citizens, especially those who deal in trade and transport of cattle, from ‘lynch mobs’. The petition claimed that since 2014, around 24 persons had been killed allegedly by cow vigilantes across India.

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