ECHOING WHAT its predecessor — the BJP government — did over the last 15 years, the new Congress regime in Madhya Pradesh has invoked the stringent National Security Act (NSA) against three persons arrested on charges of cow slaughter in the communally sensitive Khandwa town.
The police booked the accused, Nadeem, Shakeel and Azam, under the MP Prohibition of Cow Slaughter Act but later invoked the NSA, which allows preventive detention for a longer period. Khandwa SP Siddharth Bahuguna confirmed the move to The Indian Express.
Between 2007 and 2016, the BJP government under Shivraj Singh Chouhan had invoked the NSA on cow-slaughter charges against at least 22 persons, including an office-bearer of the party’s minority cell.
According to local police in Moghat, Nadeem and Shakeel were arrested in Kharkali village following a tip-off early Friday while Azam was nabbed Monday following a threat of protests from the Bajrang Dal. The carcass of a cow was recovered from the spot, said Moghat police station in-charge Mohan Singore.
“On Friday, Azam managed to escape from the spot. There was a possibility of communal tension because the Bajrang Dal threatened to take to the streets if he was also not arrested. The arrest brought the situation under control,” said Singore. “Nadeem had been booked earlier, too, under the same charge. Our informers told us the accused used to transport meat in containers used for carrying milk,” he claimed.
Ahead of the assembly elections in October, the Congress and BJP had traded charges over the depleting number of cows and proliferation of slaughter houses in the state. In its manifesto, the Congress had promised more measures to protect cows — from building shelters in every panchayat to starting commercial production of urine and dung.
Last week, Chief Minister Kamal Nath announced that 1,000 government-run cow shelters will be set up in the state within four months. Advertisements were also issued, inviting people to run such shelters on government land. Animal Husbandry Minister Lakhan Singh Yadav said the government is also considering the introduction of a cess on purchase of luxury cars and other similar measures to raise funds for cow welfare.