Rajasthan government will amend the state cow protection and anti-cow slaughter law incorporating provisions of arrest and seizure of vehicles carrying cow progeny.
The state government has made amendments to the Rajasthan Bovine ( Prohibition of slaughter and Regulation of Temporary Migration of Export) Act, 1995. The amendment will allow seizure of any vehicle used for illegally carrying or smuggling cow progeny besides making such an act punishable with arrest. The amendment will be tabled in the Assembly session which starts today and once passed, will be sent for assent to the President of India.
Rajasthan is perhaps the only state which has an entire department dedicated to cows. In its manifesto, BJP had promised a separate cow ministry, which however could not be achieved due to Constitutional constraints as states are not allowed to form new ministries. So the ministry became cow department then on. And Rajasthan has a dairy/cow minister as well, Otaram Dewasi, who hails from the Rebari tribe, which is dependent on livestock rearing.
Rajasthan has a Gau Seva Commission and the Cow Conservation Directorate to protect and rear cows besides the usual Animal Husbandry Directorate and Rajasthan Livestock Development Board.
Earlier the government had announced 39 police outposts across Rajasthan specially tasked with cow protection to check the high trafficking of cows along the borders.
Cow smuggling is big business across the India-Bangladesh borders, where in cows from Rajasthan also reach the neighbouring country. India and Bangladesh share a 4,096 km border. While cow export is banned in India, the trade is legal in Bangladesh. There is a huge demand for beef in Bangladesh and also they contribute to their leather and ceramic industry in a big way. As the returns are high in this business, cow smugglers become fearless and bold.
Meanwhile Rajasthan, where people revere cows and feed them daily, there are some who even steal cows. In Kaman town’s Kawaria temple in Bharatpur district, at least six armed robbers forced their way into gaushala and fled with eight cows recently. The temple has a cow shed with over 20 cows. The police have not ruled out the possibility of involvement of gangs who indulge in illegal smuggling of cows for slaughtering.
Meanwhile, the state which has dedicated cow department, also has a cow shelter in Jaipur, which sees at least 90 deaths each day. The Hingonia gaushala run by the Jaipur Municipal Corporation has around 9000 cows. According to some reports, cows are found dead each day because of disease,lack of medical care, lack of diet and other factors.