Cow Tale: Haryana Gauvansh Sanrakshan and Gausamvardhan Act in Karnal and its economic and administrative fallouts

The increasing instances of cow vigilantism and legal interpolations related to beef ban and cow slaughter have been making news from the time Bhartiya Janata Party led Central Government came to power. The overtly communal and casteist agenda of cow protectionism has often resulted in violence on cattle-traders and others involved in the sale, transport or consumption of beef in any way, with the majority of those attacked being Muslims and Dalits. While these horrific incidents often get some press coverage, what is missed is the underlying long-term impact of the cow protection movement especially as it manifests when implemented as a law of the state. In March 2015, the Haryana Government passed the Haryana Gauvansh Sanrakshan and Gausamvardhan Act replacing the Punjab Prohibition of Cow Slaughter Act 1955 which had earlier governed rules regarding cow slaughter in Haryana. To study the overall impact of the law on the everyday lives of the people, a PUDR fact-finding team made visits to the state in October 2016 and March 2017. Our fact-finding decided to focus on particularly on the district of Karnal which had seen several incidents of violence. We sought to analyse how the law has affected the farmers and the cattle breeders; whether the administration had the infrastructure to accommodate the changes the new law was going to cause; what did the farmers have to say about the prohibition on selling no-milk giving cattle for slaughter, whether the gaushalas have the capacity to shelter the redundant bulls and barren female cow; what did the Police administration have to say as their role under the Act to enforce it has expanded; what was the view of gaushalas run by private charities, as well as those engaged in skinning and disposing off carcasses. A copy of the report is available in English and Hindi.

August 2017

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