In the last three years, the number of cases filed under the Uttar Pradesh Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act have headed north — almost twice the number registered in 2011.
And the one area where registration of such cases is trending is western UP where incidents of communal violence — from Muzaffarnagar to Dadri to Mainpuri — are polarising communities like never before.
According to data from the Uttar Pradesh State Crime Records Bureau, obtained under the RTI Act by The Indian Express, UP registered a total of 2,456 cases under the law prohibiting cow slaughter in 2011. This number was 3,655 in 2012. In 2013, the number of cases jumped to 5,012. In 2014, it was 4,400 and this year 2,118 cases had been registered until June 30.
The maximum number of these cases have been lodged in the districts of western UP — Rampur, Sambhal, Amroha, Moradabad, Pilibhit, Shahjahanpur, Bareilly, Badaun, Meerut, Bulandshahr, Hapur, Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar and Shamli. The least number of cases have been filed in the Bundelkhand region.
Gautam Buddha Nagar, where a man was lynched last month over rumours of beef consumption, is among the districts which registered the least number of cases under the Act. But it conforms to the state trend — from 4 each in 2011 and 2012, it jumped to 12 in 2013, 9 in 2014 and 9 until June 30, 2015.
In western UP, Hindu organisations too have been actively campaigning for the protection of the cow. The Hindu Yuva Vahini of Gorakhpur MP Yogi Adityanath, with cow-protection one of its stated aims, had been active in eastern UP, especially Gorakhpur and Terai. But it has now started work on expanding its organisation in western UP.
Sunil Singh, state president of Hindu Yuva Vahini, said: “We have built our district units in western UP and work on constituting block-level and village-level committees is going on. Our activists are organising Samajik Samrasta Sammelan, Hindu Sammelan and Gau Raksha Sammelan. Earlier, we remained focused on the east, but our activities in western UP have increased in the last six months. I have myself addressed sammelans in several districts.”
He said the Hindu Yuva Vahini will run a campaign against “illegal slaughter houses” in western UP after the panchayat elections in the state. “We have got illegal slaughter houses in eastern UP closed, but there are several functioning in the west. Beef is easily available in cities like Aligarh and Meerut. Our activists have already been told to keep an eye. Recently, they stopped a vehicle of animal traffickers in Ghaziabad,” he said.
Another campaign run across the state is by Ujjain-based Baba Jai Gurudev Ashram. “We have a goal of getting cow slaughter banned and getting cow the status of national animal. Our followers paint slogans to make people aware of the atrocities on cow. One slogan is kati gai kare pukaar, bandh karo yeh atyachar (cows being slaughtered plead an end to this atrocity). Another is Modiji vaada nibhao, gau mata ki jaan bachao (Modiji, fulfil your promise, save the life of mother cow),” Ashram general secretary Sunil Kaushik said.
“There is renewed faith in our campaign, so a large number of people are getting attached. This is the first time that everyone is talking about it.” Kaushik said incidents like the one in Dadri are “foolish”.
“We are not in favour of using force. Those who eat meat have bad habits like infants who eat soil. We have to help them get rid of this habit with persuasion, not by beating them or beating ourselves,” he said.