A day after an outfit of Hindu activists demanded a ban on the sale and consumption of beef in West Bengal during Durga Puja, the state BJP unit said they have intensified their action against alleged smuggling and slaughter of cattle in the state ahead of Bakr Eid.
The party’s Cow Development Cell (CDC) claimed that they have been instrumental in “interception” and “arrests” in 5,000 cases of cow slaughter in the past 5 years. “Our volunteers are scouring through the state and working closely with the police against the practice of cow slaughter. We have gone through Islamic religious texts and there is no mention of cow. The cow is our mother and our mandate is to protect her, but if she is killed what is there to be protected,” said Subrata Gupta, convener, CDC of state BJP.
Gupta added, “Our volunteers are visiting sensitive areas where we have in the past received information about smuggling of cattle, particularly along the Indo-Bangladesh border. The Supreme Court has upheld this and we are lodging FIRs in all cases, which will be later taken up in court.”
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Dilip Bhutra, co-convenor, CDC said, “Since 2010, our activists have been instrumental in almost 5000 arrests by the police and saved countless arrests by intercepting trucks which are illegally carrying cattle under Section 43 of the CrPC which allows private individuals or the public to arrest people found to be committing a cognisable offence.”
The CDC had set up a 450-member rapid action group (RAG) in August with the intent of taking action against the smuggling of cows in the state, particularly along the Indo-Bangladesh border.
Earlier in September, the CDC had organised a ‘Gau Raksha Abhiyaan Rally’ to “raise awareness about the importance of cow progeny”.
Apart from attempting to curb smuggling of cattle, the RAG’s mandate also includes the ‘mobilisation of public opinion’. A senior BJP leader said, “It is one thing to stop cattle smuggling, but ultimately the people need to be made aware of the issue. There are enough Hindus in Bengal who find the slaughter and consumption of beef to be a problematic issue. With elections around the corner, they need to know that the BJP is the only party that will take up this issue in the state.”
On Wednesday, the Hindu Samhati had requested a ban on “slaughtering and transportation of cows and selling, mobilization of beef throughout the state” from October 19 to 22, “so that religious sentiments of Hindus does not get hurt”.
Reacting to the letter, TMC MP from Dum Dum, Saugata Roy, had said such a ban had “never been implemented and was inconceivable in Bengal”.
The BJP claimed that such an attitude revealed the TMC’s “arrogance” and “disregard for the law”.
“The Trinamool must not forget in their arrogance that they’ve been voted into power for five years. The CPM was here earlier and the BJP can be in power tomorrow. Their disregard for the law can’t lead them to believe that Bengal remains outside the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. Beef will be banned across very state eventually. Once we come to power, beef will definitely be banned,” said Bhutra.