The gau rakshaks in Haryana will now be a part of a special cow protection task force and work with Civil and Police Administration in all districts to stop cow smuggling and slaughtering and to rehabilitate the stray cattle in the state.
Manohar Lal Khattar Government has constituted a 6-member state level special protection task force and an 11-member special task force for cow protection in every district. The task force has been notified by the State Government after the directions of the Chief Minister.
Apart from senior officers of Civil and Police Administration, the task force in every district will have gau rakshaks (cow protectors/vigilantes group) as members. The cow slaughter and smuggling has always remained a sensitive issue across Haryana, and in the past, there have been several controversies surrounding gau rakshaks and gau raksha dals, who take the law into their own hand with impunity.
According to the government's notification, the key objective of setting up the task force is to enforce “The Haryana Gauvansh Sanrakshan and Gausamvardhan Act 2015” effectively by collecting information regarding cattle smuggling and slaughtering from public and to take prompt action on such illegal activities after special inputs received from the public.
The task force at state and district level will also play a key role in rehabilitating stray cattle of the state in gaushalas, nandishalas and gau abhyaranyas.
The 11-member district special cow protection force (SCPF) will comprise of Deputy Commissioner as chairman and Superintendent of Police, Commissioner of Municipal Corporation or Committee, Chief Executive officer Zila Parishad Development and Panchayat Department, District Attorney as members and Deputy Director, Animal Husbandry and Dairying as member secretary. Apart from this, three non-official members will be nominated by chairman, Haryana Gau Seva Aayog and two members from Gau rakshak committees or renowned gausevaks will be nominated by Deputy Commissioner for district level task force.
Also, the SP concerned shall nominate one DSP rank officer to coordinate regarding all enforcement activities within and adjoining the district with regard to the Act.
“The Chief Minister Manohar Lal had directed to set up a special cow protection task force including government and non-government officials to prevent illegal transportation, smuggling and slaughtering of cow progeny in the districts. The district level task force will collect information about cow smuggling and slaughtering and inform the concerned authority for action,” said a senior official of the State Government while talking to The Pioneer.
The official said that the district level task force will also take legal action after specific inputs are received from the informers about such illegal activities. Among other works, the task force will rescue and rehabilitate stray cattle, identify stray cattle by ear tagging them with 12 digit unique tag and encourage the Gaushalas by providing possible assistance for availability of land and growing of fodder for rehabilitation of stray cattle, the official added.
The district SCPF will submit a monthly report of action taken during the month directly to the chairman of the Gau Seva Aayog through the Deputy Commissioner of the district concerned.
The state level special cow protection task force monitoring committee will comprise of Haryana Gau Seva Aayog chief as chairman, Special Secretary to Revenue and Disaster Management Department, Secretary Animal Husbandry and Dairying Department, Additional Director General of Police, Additional Legal Remembrancer, Law and Legislative Department as members and Secretary, Haryana Gau Seva Aayog as member secretary.
The tenure of both state level and district task force will be of three years. The headquarters of state level task would be at Panchkula in the office of Haryana Gau Seva Aayog and it will meet once in two months, to review the progress and to make out the strategy for enforcing the provisions of Haryana Gauvansh Sanrakshan and Gausamvardhan Act effectively in the state, the government’s notification stated.
Notably, the BJP led Haryana Government was among the first states in the country to enact the Gauvansh Sanrakshan and Gausamvardhan Act in 2015, imposing a stricter ban on cow slaughter apart from curtailing smuggling of cows outside the state. It provides for a rigorous imprisonment ranging from three years to ten years for cow slaughter and provides for a fine from Rs 30,000 to Rs one lakh.
Later, Haryana Gau Seva Aayog was also constituted for proper implementation of laws with respect to prohibition of smuggling and slaughter of innocuous cows.