The police recently raided several places in Ahmedabad and south Gujarat to bust cow slaughter network allegedly running across the state. However, none was booked under prevention of anti-social activities (PASA) Act, despite the fact that Chief Minister Anandiben Patel, who is also holding the Home portfolio, took a decision in this regard in June, soon after she became CM.
During a meeting with all the IPS officers, she said that the protection of cow and abolishing of beef trade is one of top most priorities of the police department besides internal security, terrorism and women security.
Under the PASA Act, the city police commissioners and the district collectors or superintendent of polices in districts can order to arrest and send a person to jail for six months if the accused are found involved in anti-social activities that can be a threat to the law and order situation. Mostly bootleggers, gamblers and dreaded criminals are sent to jail under PASA when the repeatedly commit the same crime.
The state Home Department officials said that the decision for applying PASA was taken after an internal meeting with the top policemen of the capital and districts. The decision was taken after the police department informed the Home Department that a complete control on cow butchers and beef trade couldn’t be brought due to their widespread network.
Additional Chief Secretary (Home) S K Nanda said, “The CM had taken this decision to ensure that no illegal animal slaughter took place in the state. Killing of cows is a crime in Gujarat and selling its meat an illegal trade. However, the state has an animal protection law in order to wipe out the network of butchers. This decision to apply PASA on accused was taken to ensure that the they serve a longer jail term and don’t repeat the crime. This is a standing instruction and they have to book the accused under the PASA Act”.
The recent disturbances in Ahmedabad that took place in Mirzapur and its fallout in Shahpur led to the death of a youth – Ashraf Khan Pathan – who received bullet wounds during the clashes.
In Mirzapur, the Ahmedabad city police along with the Ahmedabad Crime Branch officials had seized 14 calves from a mini-tempo on October 3. The incident was caught on one CCTV camera of a shop nearby. When the police rescued the calves, a mob led by a butcher Hanif Langda of Mirzapur attacked the police teams.
Langda is a history-sheeter in animal slaughter cases who has been allegedly running the biggest network of illegal beef trade in the city for last several years. The police booked Langda and his aides Jamaluddin Sheikh, Jahangir Kureshi, Mohsin Dadhi, Mayuddin, Gulab Wahid, among others, for rioting, attempt to murder, hurting-hindering public servant, damaging public property under the Indian Penal Code. But there was no mention of PASA Act in the FIR.
The police had claimed that the 14 calves were being taken for slaughter to Mirzapur that houses Langda’s slaughter houses. Even, the ongoing investigations by the police into the case don’t mention the likelihood of booking the accused under PASA Act.
A day later on October 4, Ahmedabad Crime Branch Inspector Bhavesh Rojiya had apprehended a mini-tempo in Shahibaug area suspecting it was loaded with beef. However, the vehicle was found empty. After firing two rounds at the vehicle, he had arrested Salman Khan Pathan of Danilimda and Zakir Pathan of Jamalpur claiming that the duo work with the butchers in the city.
The Mirzapur and Shahibaug incidents led to police raids in Shahpur where first they claimed that they went to check on beef before Bakra Eid and to round up suspects.
The raids that went awry in Shahpur led to clashes where the police booked a mob for rioting, unlawful assembly, attempt to murder and causing disturbance to public servant on duty. But there was neither any seizure nor a case. But there was no mention of the PASA Act in this case too.
Similarly, in Dabhel village of Navsari district a police team was attacked by a mob when they went to probe into an alleged cow slaughter incident. None was booked under the Act. The Navsari police only booked a case of rioting, damage to public property and injury, hindrance to public servant under the IPC.