| Mumbai |
Updated: December 26, 2017 7:15 am
TWO YEARS after BJP-ruled Maharashtra government made consumption and transportation of beef in the state illegal, there has been a sharp decline in the number of cases registered under the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act, 2015.
The number of cases registered and the arrests made in 2017 have dipped by almost 75 per cent when compared to 2016. In all, 2,617 animals were rescued this year, compared to 6,056 in 2015 and 15,250 in 2016.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra police, which had undertaken the task of keeping track of “gau rakshaks (cow vigilantes)” across the state, recently completed the exercise. The figures reveal that around 70 per cent of cow vigilantes are members of outfits such as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Bajrang Dal, a senior official in the Director-General of Police’s office, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told The Indian Express.
According to statistics available with The Indian Express, 604 FIRs were registered by the Maharashtra police in 2015 under the Act. The year 2016 witnessed a surge in FIRs by 41 per cent with 854 cases being registered that year. In 2017, however, 207 cases were registered across the state until the first week of December. “There has been an over 75 per cent slump in cases registered under the Act compared to 2016. The slump is over 65 per cent compared to cases registered in 2015 when the Act was amended,” the official said.
With the dip in FIRs, the number of arrests too has come down sharply. While this year 417 people have been arrested under the Act, last year this number was more than 75 per cent with 1,819 people being arrested; 1,366 people were arrested in 2015, the year the Act was amended.
According to the official, the dip in numbers is an indication of the numerous advisories sent out from time to time by the DGP office being followed at the ground level. “We have clearly instructed that the Act shouldn’t be misused to harass transporters or traders who mostly hail from the minority community and that a case should be registered only after it is confirmed that the meat ferried is beef. A report by the forensic science laboratory is a must before registering an offence. This practice of registering an offence after receiving the FSL report has brought the numbers down,” the official said.
“Generally, information pertaining to the ferrying of beef is shared by so-called cow vigilantes. These people expect that as soon as information is shared, the police will act and register a case under the beef ban legislation. Since it’s an issue that could flare up into a communal situation, we have asked police units to deal with these cases sensitively and invoke stringent sections of the newly amended legislation only when the forensic science lab confirms the meat seized is beef,” the official added.
2017 has seen a dip in the number of animals rescued under the Act. According to figures, 6,056 bovines were rescued in 2015, in 2016 a record 15,250 animals were rescued and this year only 2,617. “Since there has been a slump in FIRs, the bovines rescued is less by 18 per cent compared to 2016,” the official said.