Govt should ban cow slaughter and declare it ‘protected national animal’: Allahabad HC

The Allahabad High Court recently called for the cow to be declared a protected national animal and urged the Central Government to take proactive action to eliminate cow slaughter in the country.

The court made the comments while hearing a petition filed by an accused who was charged under the Uttar Pradesh Cow Slaughter Prevention Act. The plea was dismissed by Justice Shamim Ahmed’s single bench. Police had detained Mohammad Abdul Khaliq for carrying beef, and he was booked under Section 3/5/8 of the Uttar Pradesh Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act, 1955.

While making the observations, Justice Shamim Ahmed stated that India is a secular country and that all religions must be respected, adding that in Hinduism cows are believed to be the representative of God and thus the animal should be protected and venerated.

The bench noted that cow veneration dates back to the Vedic period and that anyone who kills cows or permits others to slaughter them is said to rot in hell for a time as long as there is hair on their body.

Moreover, the bench stated that “Cow’s horns represent the gods, her face the sun and moon, and her shoulders Agni, the god of fire. Her legs represent the four Vedas. Her source of milk represents the four Purusharth or objectives, which are dharma or righteousness, artha or material wealth, kama or desire, and moksha or salvation. The cow is also described as  Nanda, Sunanda, Surabhi, Susheela, and Sumana.”

“The cow has also been associated with various deities, notably Lord Shiva (whose steed is Nandi, a bull) Lord Indra (closely associated with Kamadhenu, the wise-granting cow), Lord Krishna (a cowherd in his youth), and goddesses in general (because of the maternal attributes of many of them). The cow is the most sacred of all the animals of Hinduism. It is known as Kamadhenu, or the divine cow, and the giver of all desires,” the court further said.

The judgement notes, “with the rise of the ideal of Ahimsa (“noninjury”), the absence of the desire to harm living creatures, the cow came to symbolize a life of nonviolent generosity. In addition, because her products supplied nourishment, the cow was associated with motherhood and Mother Earth and legislation against cow killing persisted into the 20th century in many princely states.”

Stressing the importance of cows in Hinduism, Justice Ahmed cited references from the Puranas, Mahabharata and Manu Smriti as well, saying that slaughter of milk- producing cows was increasingly prohibited in ancient India.

From the Mahabharata, the Court cited Bhishma’s observation that the cow serves as a surrogate mother by giving humans milk adding that the cow is the mother of the world. The Court further noted that Lord Rama received a gift of numerous cows and that the Puranas claim that nothing is more sacred than the gift of cows.

Coming to modern times from ancient times, the court said that a movement to protect cows arose in the country in 19th and 20th century with demands to ban cow slaughter in the country. Urging the central govt to outlaw cow slaughter, the court mentioned in bold letters in the judgement, “This Court also hope and trust that the Central Government may take appropriate decision to ban cow slaughtering in the country and to declare the same as ‘protected national animal’.”

Coming to the case, the court said that the materials and evidence presented in the case indicate that an offence was committed, and therefore dismissed the petition of the accused to quash the case filed against him under the Uttar Pradesh Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act, 1955.

Source: OpIndia

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