By Linus Garg
When the right-wing Hindutva elements assumed the role of cow vigilantes, the Congress party rightly led the liberals in denouncing the Central government and BJP-ruled state governments for taking little or no action against them and in fact giving them a free run. But in a disturbing and dangerous reversal of roles, the newly elected Congress government in Madhya Pradesh has assumed the role of cow vigilante and has invoked the draconian National Security Act to detain five persons in the state who were suspected of either slaughtering cows or transporting dead cows believed to have been slaughtered by them or others.
The Congress in Madhya Pradesh has been trying to be more radically Hindu than the BJP. Previously too, posters highlighting Rahul Gandhi’s Mansarovar visit had been plastered over the state in an attempt to woo hard-line Hindus. But playing this game can be dangerous for the party and invoking the NSA to detain persons for suspected cow slaughter is going to the extreme. It also waters down the stringency associated with the act if it is used for such trivial things. Throwing someone in jail just on the suspicion of having committed a crime tramples upon several individual rights.
There are laws that are specific to cow slaughter and these could have been used. The NSA provides for summary imprisonment of one year by an administrative order issued by a district magistrate or a commissioner of police. Hence, its use, in this case, is regrettable. The Madhya Pradesh government needs to be condemned for setting a dangerous precedent that is likely to be used by other states. Political parties running governments must realize that maintaining law and order is their prime duty and it should be done by invoking normal laws and not draconian laws such as the NSA.
pic courtesy: ndtv