New Delhi: The Supreme Court of India on Friday issued notice to Narendra Modi government in New Delhi and other state governments, including six BJP-ruled states, on a petition asking for a ban on Gau Rakshaks - the Cow Vigilantes involved in several attacks on animal transporters and farmers.
A bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and AM Khanwilkar issued notice to the Modi government and Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh - all except Karnataka ruled by the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and deferred the matter for a hearing on May 3.
The Supreme Court of India also asked the Rajasthan government to file its response on Alwar killing. Pehlu Khan, 55-year-old farmer from a Haryana village, and four others from the same village were beaten in the last week by the self-proclaimed cow vigilantes.
While Pehlu Khan succummbed to his injuries two days after the incident, four others injured in the attack are still in a hospital.
Activist Tehseen Poonawala had moved the court last year asking for a ban on vigilante groups blamed for attacks on Dalits and minorities in the name of cow protection.
"... The menace caused by the so-called cow protection groups is spreading fast to every nook and corner of the country and is creating disharmony among various communities and castes," the petition said.
The plea also alleged that these groups were committing atrocities against Dalits and minorities in the name of protection of cows and other bovines and they needed to be "regulated and banned in the interest of social harmony, public morality and law and order in the country".
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 Alwar killing took place amid rampant crackdown on slaughterhouses by Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh and days after Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh reportedly vowed "those guilty of cow slaughter will be hanged."
Interestingly, the BJP ever since it came to power in New Delhi and other states is imposing bans on cow slaughter, it is taking a totally opposite stand on the matter in Goa, Kerala and Northeastern Indian states.
Last week, a senior BJP leader said that a ban on beef is not in BJP's agenda in Northeast, another party leader said that the BJP will make sure smooth availability of beef it comes to power in Kerala.
Questioning the double standard of the BJP on the issue, its ally Shiv Sena asked how can the party ban cow slaughter in one state and allow in another.