Smuggling incidents have increased since slaughter ban

Cow smuggling continues to be a menace in Rajasthan with Bharatpur and Alwar districts having the highest number of cases of cow smuggling followed by Jaipur rural district.

According to the data compiled by Rajasthan Home Department from 2015- 2017, as many as 2,198 smugglers have been arrested and 1,113 cases of cow smuggling have been registered under Rajasthan Bovine Animals (Prohibition of Slaughter and Regulation of Temporary Migration or Export) Act 1995.

The act provides for the prohibition of slaughter of cow and its progeny and also to regulate temporary migration or export as well as provides the rights to seize vehicles which are used in the illegal transportation of cow and arrest those responsible.

The Rajasthan Bovine Animal (Prohibition of Slaughter and Regulation of Temporary Migration or Export) (Amendment) Bill, 2018, was passed in the Assembly on March 9. The bill excludes buffalo and progeny from the definition. It clarified that “bovine animal” means and includes cow, calf, heifer, bull and bullock.

According to the police department, smugglers from the neighbouring Haryana sneak cows from Bharatpur and Alwar to slaughterhouses in Haryana after the ban was imposed.

The Mewat region, comprising Alwar and Bharatpur districts, has transformed into a major battleground between cow vigilantes and cattle traders or ‘cow smugglers’. The locals opine that Gau rakshaks patrol the roads at night and waylay bovine transporters, mostly smugglers from Muslim-dominated Meo region who take cattle into the neighbouring Haryana. These mobs also reportedly extort money from cattle transporters.

Naval Kishore Mishra, chief of Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s local Gau Raksha cell, explains, “We have trained our people how to detect cattle smugglers by the vehicle they use. We stop them and inform the police.”

However, the dairy farmers have a different story to tell, “We are being stopped by them (vigilantes) and they extort money from us whenever they see a cow. They also lodge a complaint against us. Even if we are ferrying a milch cow, they prove that we were smuggling cows for slaughter and the police register a case against us,” Hussain Khan, a dairy farmer at Kolgaon told DH.

It is to be noted that three dairy farmers have been allegedly lynched in the same region of Mewat on suspicion of cow smuggling.

Dip in dairy business

With rise in lynching incidents in Mewat, the economics of dairy farming, one of the primary occupation of this area, has come down by 30%. The dairy farmers claim that even the new government in Rajasthan has not helped the dairy farming business. 

“The industry has seen a dip in the past couple of years. Earlier I used to collect around 350 litres of cow milk and 1200 litres of buffalo milk every day from villagers. But now the quantity of cow milk has reduced by 30%,” Abdul Qayoom, a dairy owner operating in Nuh told DH. The dip in the diary business has also made many jobless while some are trying their hands in different fields.

Another menace Rajasthan government is trying to tackle is stray cows which is also the reason behind the large number of accidents in the state. “Once a cow stops giving milk, the animal is abandoned by farmers which results in it joining the band of stray cattle. People associated with cow shelters insist that the current assistance given to them by the government is not adequate as a large number of stray cows enter the shelters every day,” a senior official at the Animal Husbandry Department told DH.

Rajasthan was the first state to have a Cow Rehabilitation Ministry under the BJP rule. In a bid to ensure that cows are being well kept, the Congress government in Rajasthan has decided to felicitate those who adopt stray cows. The Directorate of Gopalan has directed district collectors to motivate people, donors, organisations, social workers and cow lovers to adopt stray cows. The department has announced that they will be felicitated on August 15 and January 26.

“We believe that more people will adopt stray cows and undertake welfare schemes. Which is why we started this initiative,” Vishram Meena, director of the directorate, told DH.

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