Punjab decides on a memorial for cows

Punjab will soon have a ‘cow memorial’ — a monument of sorts that the government says will remind everyone of the state’s resolve to protect the cow.

Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Wednesday announced to set up a memorial for cows. The decision comes just days after nearly 25 carcasses of slaughtered cows were found near a factory in Mansa district of Punjab.

The incident had evoked strong religious sentiments from the Akali Dal-BJP ruled state, with people losing temper and burning down the factory where animal bones were crushed for supplying to drug manufacturing firms.

The cow memorial will come up at the site of the factory where the carcasses were found.

Punjab is one of the first few states in the country to enact a law for cow protection, making an offence punishable with imprisonment up to 10 years.

Under this law, even a person connected in any way with the sale of a cow purportedly for slaughter would also be liable for penal action and imprisonment as per the provisions of the Act.

Cases of this nature have already been initiated against 270 people in the state.
Badal has also asked Director General of Police SS Saini to thoroughly probe all cases pertaining to cow slaughter pending at different levels to ensure strict punishment. A delegation of various Hindu organisations led by Punjab Gau Sewa Board Chairman Kimti Bhagat had called on Badal on Tuesday evening.

Badal had said the state government will acquire the factory premises to set up the memorial. “This will send a strong signal to all those involved in such illegal trade,” Badal said.

The government may also create a legal cell to take up cases of cow slaughter in Punjab, besides exemption of stamp fee on purchase of land for gaushalas and VAT on material purchased for such facilities.

A source said Badal will take up the issue with the Centre for getting small power plants in gaushalas sanctioned as is being done in neighbouring Haryana.

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