Indian Supreme Court calls for central gov't to crack down on cow vigilantes

Source:Xinhua Published: 2017/9/6 17:55:49

India's Supreme Court Wednesday asked the central government and the state governments to take immediate steps to prevent cow vigilantism in the country.

A three-judge bench of the apex court, led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, also directed all the state governments to appoint a senior police officer in each district as a nodal official to act against cow vigilantism and cow vigilantes.

"Both the central government and states must take steps to stop cow vigilante groups from taking law into their hands or behave like law themselves," the top court said in the wake of a bunch of petitions against cow vigilantism.

Cows are revered as sacred animals among India's Hindus, and there are strict laws on their slaughter and beef consumption in several parts of the country, particularly in states governed by India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Since BJP came to power in 2014, critics have claimed that there have been a number of attacks on Dalits (untouchables) and minority Muslims for whom beef is a staple, especially in the northern states, by fringe Hindu groups who call themselves protectors of cows.

In fact, according to official statistics, nearly a dozen people have been killed in attacks by cow protectors in the past three years. Targets are often picked simply based on rumours and Muslims have been attacked for even transporting cows for milk.

Modi has at least twice condemned the attacks on Dalits and Muslims by cow vigilantes, saying murder in the name of cow protection "is not acceptable", but that has not deterred the attackers.

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