Criminal Slaughter

via Anuradha Dutt- Daily Pioneer published on September 29, 2009

Cows continue to be smuggled from various States to Bangladesh where they are slaughtered. West Bengal, ruled by the CPI(M) and where cow slaughter is legal, has proved to be an ideal transit point. The Congress, sensitive to minority sentiments, does not care about this crime

Dubious attempts by some Indic studies scholars to prove that ancient Indians ate beef have failed to convince us that this was indeed so. Go sewa and eschewing beef are integral to the Hindu weltanschauung even though today cattle are treated badly, with old and ‘useless’ cows and oxen being sold to butchers by owners and lifters, and cattle being smuggled across India’s borders into Bangladesh with impunity. This paper on Tuesday reported how cows are daily transported in the dead of night across India-Bangladesh border. Sahebkhali in the Sundarbans and Chanralkhali village on the bank of the Kalindi river have been identified as venues where cattle from various parts of India arrive.

The wreckage caused by cyclone Aila in the deltas reportedly disrupted patrolling by the Border Security Force. Left without sources of livelihood, locals are helping smugglers of cattle and commodities. Earlier, a sum of Rs 200 was paid by smugglers to a person for transporting cattle from one village to another. The amount was halved after more people took to such work. Boats are kept ready in the Sundarbans mangrove jungles bordering Bangladesh. At night, the animals are loaded on to them. Another method is for locals to lead cattle through fields, inundated with water, and into the ebbing Kalindi. From there, the smugglers move towards Bangladesh. Many villagers are reported to have sold their own cattle to smugglers in a bid to keep kitchen fires burning.

Sources in BSF claim to have seized 4,169 cattle so far. Since these bulky animals are difficult to overlook in the course of their journey from Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and elsewhere, it is difficult to understand how law-enforcers allow their passage. And in that failure hangs a tale that illustrates the laissez faire attitude of the Congress, socialist and Communist parties to the vital issue of protecting these gentle creatures which, along with the Ganga and Gayatri mantra, are considered by many Hindus to symbolise Sanatan Dharma or the perennial faith. Believers revere cows because they are seen to be the repositories of divine forces. Tending them induces all-round well-being on the material as well as metaphysical plains.

Swami Vivekanand pointed out that India’s genius is religious. India, sadly, is a deracinated nation that has repudiated its cultural heritage in favour of a dry utilitarian creed which favours the butchering and commercial uses of cattle. The leather and meat export industries wield enormous clout in shaping policies. Successive Congress Governments at the Centre after India won freedom are to be blamed for flouting the constitutional directive to ban cow slaughter. Congress’s policy of kowtowing to minorities at the expense of the majority community’s sentiments was evident when it repeatedly ignored demands by Hindus for a nationwide ban on cow slaughter. That apart, the butchers’ lobby ensured that no such law could be enforced.

States began to make their own anti-slaughter laws. The butchers’ lobby challenged the Bihar Government’s complete ban in the Patna High Court. After the court upheld the ban, the lobby moved the Supreme Court, pleading that cow slaughter was a religious duty under Islam. The court dismissed this plea in 1958, though permitting impotent bulls to be butchered. The States of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and others were forced to modify the complete ban imposed by them in light of the verdict.

Cows and calves, ruled the court, should not be killed because they were economically productive. One quotes from the judgement:

“Cattle in India has three-fold uses: First, providing milk for consumption; second, for draught purposes; and, finally, as provider for manure for agriculture. Dung is cheaper than chemical fertilisers and extremely useful. In short, the cow and bullock are the backbone of India”.

But the ruling Congress dispensation continued to be hostile to Hindu interests, even ordering a clamp-down on sadhus protesting against cow slaughter in 1966-1967. Mrs Indira Gandhi, sworn-in as Prime Minister, thus saw a bad beginning to her tenure. The campaign to save cattle — Goraksha Andolan — was formally launched in 1952, with RSS activists collecting 1,75,39,813 signatures in support of the cause. Later, the VHP gave the movement an impetus by holding a massive rally in Delhi. The police assault on participants at the Government’s behest indicated Congress’s proclivities.

Not that the communists were any better. After Goa also passed a law against cow slaughter, Leftist West Bengal and Kerala remained the two States which permitted butchering of cows. Incidentally, the Janata Government (1977-1999), dominated by socialists, was not different either. A committee, set up by Mrs Gandhi to review the issue in January 1967, was dissolved by the Janata Government, headed by strict vegetarian Morarji Desai. Though an interim report, advising laws to protect cattle within the ambit of the Supreme Court order, had been submitted to the Indira Gandhi Government, the final report was not submitted since the committee was dissolved.

Socialists in the cow belt States of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, flouting their own dharma of protecting cows, are as prone as the Congress to kowtow to minorities — essentially, Muslims — on the mistaken assumption that cow slaughter is a religious duty under Islam. Thus, cattle is routinely smuggled out of these States under the nose of the police in West Bengal, where the Communist Government, also dependent on minority support, does little to protect cattle. It is unholy business, all around.

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