CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION
(By Justice Guman Mal Lodha, Acting Chairman)
2. Cows constituted a very important part of ancient Indian Society
3. Cow – the embodiment of our culture – The Mother of the Universe
4. Punishment for killing of cow as prescribed in Vedas and Smrities
5. Cow – the immunizer from diseases – Panchgavya, a Divine substance
6. Scope of the word ‘Cow’
7. Contribution of the cow to the economy
8. The genesis of cow slaughter in India
9. Cow slaughter in British India
10. Beginning of mass protests against cow-killings
11. Leaders of Swaraj movement – Assurance to the public
12. Recommendations of various Committees
13. Constituent Assembly Debate on Cow Protection
14. Issue of cow slaughter as dealt with in Five Year Plans
15. Blind following of western pattern of Agriculture / AH
16. Allocation of “Cattle utilization and slaughter” to DAH&D
17. Licenses and Grants for mechanised slaughter houses
18. Existence of large number of unlicensed and licensed slaughterhouses
19. Blind Eye to unlawful slaughter on Bakri-Id
20. Plight of the Cow in modern India
21. Views of opponents of ban on cow slaughter
22. Constitutional Hurdles and impediments for a total ban
23. Region-based perceptions on the cow question
24. Trends in cattle population growth
25. Views of Chairman
ANNEXES TO CHAPTER I
ANNEX I (1) Details of Statistics of Cow Slaughter during British period/ Copy of letter dt. 11.7.1944
ANNEX I (2) News items on Bakr-Id riots published in 1893
ANNEX I (3) Constituent Assembly debate on cow issue verbatim
ANNEX I (4) Copy of letter written by Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Narayan to Smt. Indira Gandhi
ANNEX I (5) IInd Five Year Plan Document – Extracts
ANNEX I (6) Photo of Cow-Goddess of Egypt
ANNEX I (7) Private Member Bill – introduced by Justice Guman Mal Lodha
ANNEX I (8) Resolution dt. 24.4.1990 by Justice Lodha
ANNEX I (9) News item “Govt. escapes defeat in LS”
ANNEX I (10) Lists of results of final slip voting in Lok Sabha
ANNEX I (11) Speech of Justice Guman Mal Lodha in Lok Sabha
ANNEX I (12) Press clipping dt. 23rd April, 1992 “U.P. Bill - An opening gambit”
ANNEX I (13) Press clipping dt.4th Oct., 1993 “Gujarat bans calf slaughter”
ANNEX I (14) Press clipping dt. 11th Aug., 1995 “Cow Slaughter Bill Passed”
ANNEX I (15) Press clipping dt. 5th April, 1995 “Bengal Govt. in a Fix”
ANNEX I (16) Press clipping dt. 20th March, 1994 - “Bill on ban on cow slaughter, sale of beef passed”
ANNEX I (17) Press clipping dt. 14th Aug., 1994 “Beefing up secularism”
ANNEX I (18) Press clipping dt. 3rd March, 1994 “The politics of meat”
ANNEX I (19) Article - By Shri Saffuddin Choudhury
ANNEX I (20) Press clipping dt. 10th Oct., 1993 -" Sins of the flesh”
ANNEX I (21) Verbatim proceedings of Debate on President’s Speech dt. 24th May, 1996
ANNEX I (22) Memorandum by Chairman, AWBI to Constitution Review Commission
ANNEX I (23) Figures of Livestock population of India
ANNEX I (24) Comparative figures of cattle population & their Distribution in 1987-1992
ANNEX I (25) Sex-wise & State-wise distribution in 1987 & 1992 of cross breed and indigenous cattle
ANNEX I (26) Sex-wise & State-wise distribution in 1987 & 1992 of cross breed and indigenous cattle
ANNEX I (27) State wise distribution of population of work animals
ANNEX I (28) State wise distribution of cattle population in 1992 & 1997
ANNEX I (29) World Livestock population during 1990 to 1997
ANNEX I (30) Production of cow milk by major countries
ANNEX I (31) No. of cattle slaughtered in India in 1996 to 1998
ANNEX I (32) All India Meat Production - 1976 to 1997
ANNEX I (33) FAO Statistics of Milk Production & Per capita availability of Milk
ANNEX I (34) Copies of articles of Prof. Biharilal Tadia, M.P. & Shri Narendra Dube
1. “Bharat Varsha”, also known as “Arya Vart” and now constitutionally named as “India” i.e. “Bharat” is pre-dominantly a country of villages. The economy of this country is mainly based on Agriculture.
2. There is an interesting historical anecdote about the Chairman of the National Agricultural Commission, the late Shri Nathuram Mirdha, who, when asked by a foreign delegation as to what, according to him, was the culture of India, replied “Agriculture and no other culture is the culture of India”. The king-pin of agriculture in the country is the Cow, other-wise known as “Kamdhenu”.
3. Dr. Vishrant Vasist in his famous thesis “A Saga Leading to the Prosperity of Mankind”, traces the mythological history of the cow or Kamdhenu to the Indian or Vedic version of the history of mankind. Mythology has it that, during the churning of the oceans (Sagar Manthan of Mantrachal Samundra), which took place as a result of the struggle between the God’s Saints (Devas) and the Devil’s Rakshasas, the first outcome or Ratna was the “Hallahal” also known as “Kalkoot Vish”, the poison which was drunk by Lord Shankar. The second outcome from this Samudhra Manthan was a cow. She was named as “Kamdhenu” and she was able to fulfill all the needs, ambitions and requirements of all. God’s Saints and Sages welcomed Kamdhenu, and since she was young and tender, she was given for nursing to Maharshi Vasist who constituted “Go Loka” separately. Kamdhenu gave birth to “Nandini”. The Sage “Dhanwanthri” had great respect for Kamadhenu, whom he worshipped and with her blessings, he made a great medicine called “Panchagavya”, consisting of Cow milk, cow ghee, Cow curd, cow urine and cow dung.
4. The mythological version goes on to say that “Dhanwanthri” was taken by Narad to Bhagwan Vishnu, who predicted that he would himself do Go Seva, in an exemplary manner, in one of his incarnations or Avatars as “Sri Ram” and, thereafter, the cow would also be identified with the name of Lord Krishna.
5. Later on, the entire economy was counted in terms of the number of cows owned by individual in tens, hundreds, thousands, lakhs and crores. “Maharaj Virad”, in the Mahabharat era, had a big herd of cows, which was known as his main property. Maharshi Chyavan was a great worshipper of cow and so also was “Maharaj Rikthambhar”. The great King “Dilip”, an ancestor of “Bhagwan Ramachandra” challenged a lion, which wanted to satiate its hunger by eating the cow “Nandini”, by offering himself instead of the cow. The mythology is full of descriptions of other cow-worshippers like Pandu’s son Sahadev and Raja Virad, and in later times, saints like Santh Namdev were known for their dedication to the Cow. Chatrapati Shivaji as a young boy even during the regime of the barbaric and cruel Mughal King Aurangazeb challenged a butcher, who was forcibly taking a cow for slaughter and not only rescued her but killed the butcher in an incident which took place in Bijapur.
6. Sir Monier-Williams, a great Scholar of Sanskrit, who was Professor of Sanskrit at Oxford University, in his famous 'Sanskrit-English Dictionary’ has given 72 equivalents and meanings of the word “Cow”, some of which are reproduced hereunder:
1. Gau; 2. Shringne; 3. Tamcha; 4. Maha; 5. Porari; 6. Surabhi; 7. Usara; 8. Arjuni; 9. Agra; 10. Rohini; 11. Dhenudhenuka; 12. Godhenu; 13. Strigavi; 14. Dogdhi; 15. Pinoghani; 16. Pivarrupani; 17. Dhenusha; 18.Govrindarava; 19. Gomutallika; 20. Goprakanda; 21.Vatskama; 22. Vatsala; 23. Vasundhara; 24.Vasudha; 25. Dharitri; 26. Dharini; 27. Medhani; 28.Vatsiya; 29.Amira.
1. The Sulabh Dainik of 11th July
2. The Sulabh Dainik –26th July
3. The Sullabh Dainik of 5th Aug.
4. The Sulabh Dainik of the 7th Sept..
5. The Sulabh Dainik of the 12th Sept.
6. The Dainik-o-Samachar Chandrika of the 17th Aug.
7. The Dalinik –o- Samachar Chandrika 21st Aug.
8. The Dainik-o-Samachar Chandrika 22nd Aug.
9. The Dainik-o-Samachar Chandrika 7th Sept.
10. The Dainik-o-Samachar Chandrika 13th Sept.
11. The Sahachar 9thAug.
12. The Sahachar 30th Aug.
13. The Dacca Gasette 17th July
14. The Banganivasi 11th Aug.
15. Shulb Suchak 21st July
16. The Karnatak Patra of 31st July
17. The Rajya;bhakta of 8th Aug.
18. The Kalpataru of 20th Aug.
19. The Maharatta 27th Aug.
20. The Hindustani (Lucknow) 12th July
21. The Sitara-i-Hind (Moradabad) 20th July
22. The Shubh Chintok (Jubhulpore) of 12th Aug.
23. The Shubh Chintak (Jubhulpore) 19th Aug.
24. The Shubh Chintak (Ju;bbulpore) of 26th Aug.
25. The Subodh Singhu (Khandwa) of 30th Aug.
26. The Mauji Nerbudda (Hoshangabad) of 1st Sept
Leaders of Swaraj movement – Assurance to the public
39. All the prominent leaders of the Swaraj Movement, including Mahatma Gandhi, Bal Gangadher Tilak, Lala Lajpat Rai, Pt. Madan Mohan Malviya, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Purushottam Das Tondon, in order to mobilize public to participate actively in the Swaraj movement, assured the public time and again that, on achieving the goal of Swaraj, the first action of the Swadeshi Government would be to ban slaughter of cow and its progeny by law. Mahatma Gandhi said, in December 1927, “As for me, not even to win Swaraj, will I renounce my principle of cow protection.”
40. In 1944, while the British were still in power in India, restrictions were put on slaughter of cattle by the Government, on the grounds that the shortage of was causing anxiety to the Government. The shortage itself was attributed to the increased demand for cattle for cultivation, transport, milk, etc. It was decided that, in respect of slaughter by the army authorities, working cattle, as well as, cattle fit for bearing offspring, should not be slaughtered. Accordingly, the slaughter of all cattle below 3 years of age, male cattle between 3 and 10 years, female cattle between 3 and 10 years of age, which are capable of producing milk, as well as all cows which are pregnant or in milk, was prohibited. A copy of Government orders dated 11th July 1944, along with some statistics of numbers of cattle slaughtered in those years, is at Annex - I (1), already referred to above.
41. In 1940, one of the Special Committees of the Indian National Congress opined that slaughter of cow and its progeny must be totally prohibited. However, strangely another Committee of the Congress opined that the skin and leather of cow and its progeny, which is fresh by slaughter should be sold and exported to earn foreign exchange. It opined against cow slaughter prohibition. It was in pursuance of such unfortunate recommendations, as well as pressure from the leather lobby that, in 1950, an order was issued by the Government of India that the skin of dead cow fetches less value in comparison to the skin of the slaughtered cows. State Governments were, therefore, advised not to introduce total prohibition on cow-slaughter.
42. There was an abnormal increase in the number of Cows (cattle) slaughtered in the years preceding Independence. As per statistics given by Pandit Thakur Dass, during the debate in the Constituent Assembly on 24.11.1948 (Annexure 3A), whereas in 1944, the number of cattle (Oxen) killed was 60,91,828, in 1945, sixty five lakhs were slaughtered, an increase of more than 4 lakhs. He further stated that the population of oxen in the country decreased by 37 lakhs in 5 years from 1940 to 1945.
Recommendations of various Committees / Commissions on Cow Slaughter
43. After Independence, in November 1947, an Expert Committee was appointed by the Government of India, Ministry of Agriculture to consider the question of banning slaughter of cattle in all its aspects and to recommend a comprehensive plan of action for preserving the cattle wealth of the country and for promoting its development. The Committee, which came to be known as the Cattle Preservation and Development Committee, was chaired by Sardar Datar Singh. In its Report, submitted in November 1947, the Committee urged upon the country to put a total ban on the slaughter of the cow, in two stages, but within a period of two years.
44. The final recommendation of the Datar Singh Committee is as follows:
“ This Committee is of the opinion that slaughter of cattle is not desirable in India under any circumstances whatsoever, and that its prohibition shall be enforced by law. The prosperity of India to a very large extent depends on her cattle and the soul of the country can feel satisfied only if cattle slaughter is banned completely and simultaneous steps are taken to improve the cattle, which are in a deplorable condition at present. In order to achieve these ends, the Committee suggests that the following recommendations should be given effect to:-
(i) The first stage which has to be given effect to immediately, should cover the total prohibition of slaughter of all useful cattle other than as indicated below:
(a) Animals over 14 years of age and unfit for work and breeding.
(b) Animals of any age permanently unable to work or breed owing to age, injury or deformity.
(ii) Unlicensed and unauthorised slaughter of cattle should be prohibited immediately and it should be made a cognizable offence under law.
(iii) The law for prohibiting slaughter of cattle totally should be enforced as early as possible but in any case within two years of enactment of the Act, (emphasis provided) during which period following necessary arrangements should be made for the maintenance and care of unserviceable and unproductive animals.
(a) A survery of the country should be conducted to find out the areas where Go-sadans may be established and all details with regard to expenditure, etc, should be worked out and arrangements therewith made.
(b) Necessary legislation for the raising of funds required should be enacted as follows:
(i) Gaushala cess, such as laga, Bitti, Katauti, Dharmada should be legalised and their collection regulated for the utilisation in the improvement of Gaushalas and Go-sadans.
(iii) ........... “
45. The recommendation regarding the first stage towards a total ban on slaughter of cattle was taken up by most of the States of India and within a few years, laws were enacted in most States banning the slaughter of all cattle below the age of 14.
46. A Committee was constituted in Uttar Pradesh in 1948, which included prominent persons from all communities, including the Nawab of Chattari, and Justice Maharaj Singh (a judge of the U.P. High Court and also a Christian). This Committee supported the recommendations of the Sardar Datar Singh Committee. Despite this, when in 1955, the U.P. Cow Slaughter Prohibition Act was enacted, an exception was made to allow the stocking and sale of beef, etc. in closed containers at Airports and railway stations.
47. In 1954, another Expert Committee was set up under the Chairmanship of the then Animal Husbandry Commissioner, Shri P.N. Nanda, to consider, inter alia, what steps should be taken to prevent the killing of milch cows, even when they had gone temporarily dry. In its Report, submitted in January 1955, the Committee stated that a total ban on slaughter of cattle would be undesirable, in view of the shortage of dry and green fodder, and concentrates. The Committee reasoned that, as India had little fodder and cattle feed, it could only maintain 40% of its cattle and, therefore, the remaining 60% should be culled.
48. In June 1960, at the Gosamvardhan Seminar organised at Mount Abu by the Central Council of Gosamvardhana, the problems of salvage of milch stock when they go dry and their calves from cities and towns was discussed. The ways and means of preserving good quality cattle in the breeding areas were also discussed at this Seminar, at the end of which recommendations were made, which included a recommendation for strict implementation of the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act, grant of greater concession in the freight rates for transport of dry cattle, setting up of salvage farms by Government etc. In 1961, the Central Council of Gosamvardhana constituted a Committee, under the Chairmanship of Shri Sriman Narayan, the then Member (Agriculture), Planning Commission, to examine, in detail, the various measures necessary for preserving high yielding cattle in the breeding tracts, control on the import of milch catle into city stables, salvage of dry cows and young stock in the cities and suggest a comprehensive programme for implementing the recommendations made at the Gosamvardhana Seminar held at Mt. Abu. In its Report, submitted in 1962, this Committee suggested, inter alia, that the States should undertake legislation for the registration of milch cattle and for controlling their removal outside the concerned State; that the Ministry of Food and Agriculture should examine the need for a comprehensive Central Legislation for the preservation of cattle and development of dairying; the Schemes drawn up by the States for preservation and improvement of cattle should receive high priority and necessary funds allotted; the West Bengal Animal Slaughter Control Act should be enforced more rigidly and the Act should be suitably amended so as to provide for the prohibition of import and sale of contraband beef in the city; and, the West Bengal Animal Slaughter Control Act of 1950 be extended to other Municipal areas also and, wherever possible, the Government should associate non-officials also in the enforcement of the various provisions of the Act.
49. In its Report, submitted in 1976, the National Commission on Agriculture made several recommendations in Part VII on Animal Husbandry. Some of the relevant recommendations in Part VI - Chapter 28 (on Cattle and Buffaloes) are as follows:
• Massive programmes for improving the reproductive and productive efficiencies of cattle and buffaloes should be undertaken. Low producing stock should be progressively eliminated so that the limited feed and fodder resources are available for proper feeding of high producing animals. (Chapter 28, Part VII – Recommendation No. 1)
• Emphasis on future cattle and buffalo development should be on increasing milk production and improving the working efficiency of bullocks through planned breeding system. (Chapter 28, Part VII – Recommendation No. 5)
• Incentives should be given to encourage importation of dairy cattle through individuals of Indian origin who have settle abroad. Government of India may provide foreign exchange to meet the cost of transport of the animals from abroad which can be recovered on ‘rupee payment’ basis from the recipients....... (Chapter 28, Part VII – Recommendation No. 5)
50. Although the subjects of buffaloes and production of meat are not strictly within the purview of the National Commission on Cattle, we are reproducing some of the recommendations from Chapter 28 (on Cattle and Buffaloes) and Chapter 36 (on Meat Production and Animal Byproducts) made by the National Commission on Agriculture, to show the mind-set of the planners and other persons in power towards the principles of ‘Ahimsa’ and sanctity of all animal life, which have been traditionally so dear to the people of this country:
• The buffalo should be developed not only for enhancement of milk production but also for making it a source of production of quality meat. (Chapter 28, Part VII – Recommendation No. 56)
• A deliberate and energetic drive should be made to develop export trade in buffalo meat. (Chapter 28, Part VII – Recommendation No. 68)
• Export trade for buffalo meat should be developed by improving the meat characteristics of the buffalo and fattening unwanted male buffalo calves. (Chapter 36, Part VII – Recommendation No. 2)
• Modernisation of slaughterhouses should be undertaken immediately. (Chapter 36, Part VII – Recommendation No. 3)
Constituent Assembly Debate on Cow Protection
51. An Amendment Motion for introduction of a new article 38A in the Constitution of India was moved by Pandit Thakur Das Bhargava and Seth Govind Das in the Constituent Assembly. The amendment read as follows:
‘38-A. The State shall endeavour to organise agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines and shall in particular take steps for preserving and improving the breeds of cattle and prohibit the slaughter of cow and other useful cattle, specially milch and draught cattle and their young stock'."
52. During the Debate in the Constituent Assembly, on 24 November 1948, on this amendment motion, the arguments in faour of the motion were forcefully advanced by Pandit Thakur Dass Bhargava (East Punjab), Seth Govind Das (C.P. and Berar) , Shri R. V. Dhulekar (United Provinces), Prof. Shibban Lal Saksena (United Provinces), Shri Ram Sahai (United State of Gwalior- Indore - Malwa - Madhya Bharat) and Dr. Raghu Vira (C.P. and Berar).
53. It is interesting to note that even a Muslim member, Mr. Z.H. Lari of United Provinces, in the interests of maintaining communal harmony, stated that “ Therefore, if the House is of the opinion that slaughter of cows should be prohibited, let it be prohibited in clear, definite and unambiguous words. I do not want that there should be a show that you could have this thing although the intention may be otherwise. My own submission to this House is that it is better to come forward and incorporate a clause in Fundamental Rights that cow slaughter is henceforth prohibited, rather than it being left vague in the Directive Principles, leaving it open to Provincial Governments to adopt it one way or the other, and even without adopting definite legislation to resort to emergency powers under the Criminal Procedure. In the interests of good-will in the country and of cordial relations between the different communities I submit that this is the proper occasion when the majority should express itself clearly and definitely.”
54. Similarly, another Muslim Member of the Constituent Assembly, Mr. Syed Muhammad Saiadulla from Assam stated, “Sir, the subject of debate before the House now has two fronts, the religious front and the economic front. Some who want to have a section in our Constitution that cow killing should be stopped for all time probably base it on the religious front. I have every sympathy and appreciation for their feelings; for, I am student of comparative religions. I know that the vast majority of the Hindu nation revere the cow as their goddess and therefore they cannot brook the idea of seeing it slaughtered. I am a Muslim as everyone knows. In my religious book, the Holy Qoran, there is an injunction to the Muslims saying - ‘La Ikraba fid Din’, or, there ought to be no compulsion in the name of religion. I therefore do not like to use my veto when my Hindu brethren want to place this matter in our Constitution from the religious point of view. I do not also want to obstruct the framers of our Constitution, I mean the Constituent Assembly if they come out in the open and say directly: ‘This is part of our religion. The cow should be protected from slaughter and therefore we want its provision either in the Fundamental Rights or in the Directive Principles.’
55. A close study of the Constituent Assembly debate on the cow issue - verbatim of the debate is place at Annexure I (3) , - would reveal that an initial effort was made for inclusion of a total ban on slaughter of cow and its progeny in the Fundamental Rights enshrined in the Constitution of India. This is evident from the speeches made by Pandit Thakur Dass Bhargava, Seth Govind Das and Prof. Shibban Lal Saksena. It appears that Pandit Thakur Dass Bhargava had to step down from his demand to place the provision in the Fundamental Rights Chapter and agree to it being put in the Directive Principles, due to insistence of Dr. B.R.Ambedkar. This is evident from the following extract from the opening remarks itself of Pandit Thakur Dass Bhargava, while moving his motion:
“ Mr. Vice-President, with regard to this amendment I would like to submit before the House that in fact this amendment like the other amendment, about which Dr. Ambedkar has stated, is his manufacture. Substantially there is no difference between the two amendments. In a way this is an agreed amendment. While moving this amendment, I have no hesitation in stating that for people like me and those that do not agree with the point of view of Dr. Ambedkar and others, this entails, in a way, a sort of sacrifice. Seth Govind Das had sent one such amendment to be included in the Fundamental Rights and other members also had sent similar amendments. To my mind, it would have been much better if this could have been incorporated in the Fundamental Rights, but some of my Assembly friends differed and it is the desire of Dr. Ambedkar that this matter, instead of being included in Fundamental Rights should be incorporated in the Directive Principles. As a matter of fact, it is the agreed opinion of the Assembly that this problem should be solved in such a manner that the objective is gained without using any sort of coercion. I have purposely adopted this course, as to my mind, the amendment fulfils our object and is midway between the Directive Principles and the Fundamental Rights.
I do not want that, due to its inclusion in the Fundamental Rights, non-Hindus should complain that they have been forced to accept a certain thing against their will. ”
56. Seth Govind Dass, who had earlier submitted an amendment for inclusion of cow protection in the Fundamental Rights chapter of the Constitution, introduced another amendment to Pandit Thakur Dass Bhargava’s amendment, as follows:
That in amendment No. 1002 of the list of Amendments in article 38-A the words ‘and other useful cattle, specially milch cattle and of child bearing age, young stocks and draught cattle' be deleted and the following be added at the end: ‘The word "cow” includes bulls, bullocks, young stock of genus cow'.
57. The effect of the above-mentioned amendment moved by Seth Govind Das would have been to direct that the State shall prohibit the slaughter of cows, bulls, bullocks and calves of cow. However, this amendment, as well as the earlier amendment of Seth Govind Das for inclusion of cow protection in Fundamental Rights, was negatived by the official line of the then Government.
58. The present history of India, in so far as the flood of cattle slaughter is concerned, would always remain related to this unfortunate lapse of the Constituent Assembly and its failure to agree to the inclusion of the clause in the Fundamental Rights Chapter. In spite of the near-unanimous view that the slaughter of cow and its progeny must be prohibited by including it in the Fundamental Rights, the ruling party did not agree and used their Veto to torpedo the views of many members of the constituent assembly. The result was that to, a limited extent, the slaughter prohibition provision was put as one of the Directive Principles of State Policy and on State List of VII schedule, leaving it to the mercy of the State Govt. and thus keeping the issue alive for all times to come. Had the rulers at that time agreed with the near-unanimous view, slaughter of cows and its progeny would have been completely prohibited, like untouchability by putting it in Fundamental Rights.
59. In spite of the history of the partition and acceptance of the Two-Nation Theory, the ruling party could not accept such uncontroversial legislation like prohibition of slaughter of cow and its progeny, though worshipped by the entire country and people from ages and sages of thousands of years, as “GOMATA”.
60. The above-mentioned lapse on the part of the Constituent Assembly, deserves to be remedied even now, and this can be done, provided there is a strong will, burning desire and firm determination. The speeches of the stalwarts and champions of cow protectors, even then in 1948, emphasized that the cow and its progeny is a moving factory of manure and even if it is dry and not giving milk, the utility of its dung and urine in agriculture can financially compensate the farmer for the expenses incurred on it and, therefore, it is never uneconomic or useless. From 1948, to 2002 that is after a period of about 6 decades we are in a position to re-emphasize and prove that the phrase “useless” or “uneconomic” is out of the common vocabulary, in so far as cow and its progeny is concerned. (This is well proved now in Chapter No. 5 of our Report related to “bye- products of cow” i.e., cow dung and urine – organic manure, medicines and energy).
61. The ghost of secularism and concern for the Vote Bank of Bengali Muslims seems to over-rule even the judgements of the Supreme Court in the Writers’ Building in Kolkata even now. The tragedy is that even Mamta loses ‘Mamta’ for the cow, as is evidenced by her interruption and, subsequent walk-out from Parliament on 25.5.96, when President Shankar Dayal Sharma, during his customary address to both Houses in Central Hall of Parliament, declared the resolve of the BJP Government, led by Atalji, to take up suitable measure “in order to ensure cow protection, and to impose a total ban on the slaughter of cows and cow progeny”. Gandhi, Vinoba, Tilak and Mahaveer must surely have wept over “Partitioned India”, slaughtered by the two-nation theory, again slaughtering the holy and pious Cow in Central Hall by such opposition.
62. Thus many Vote-greedy politicians, a few Money-greedy Hindus and fanatic fundamentalist Muslims, all have joined hands against the speechless cow, reducing it to fulfill their “KAM” from “Dhenu”. No wonder that the figure of slaughter of cattle is now in excess of 2 crores per year on record and much more illegally. Gandhiji’s desire and promise to the Nation, that when our country became free and independent, the first legislation would be to prohibit killing of cows and its progeny, was given the go-by on the basis of the false and fictitious thinking of so-called Secular leaders that even, although the Muslims in the Constituent Assembly were not opposing the prohibition of cow slaughter, there may be some Indian Muslims, who would rejoice in the sacrifice of cows on the occasion of Bakrid.
63. They seem to have conveniently forgotten that cow-slaughter was not allowed even by Mughal Emperors like Akbar, Jahangir, Humayun and Bahadur Shah Zafar, as the Supreme Court has judicially recorded it and have gone by the dictat of cruel and barbarous invaders and fundamentalists like Babar. Our new emperors seem to have excelled Babar and created records of “Cow Killing” by their acts of omission and commission. Ram Manohar Lohia has lamented that our forefathers were cowards, as they could not fight invaders and barbarous dacoits such as Changez Khan, Babar and others, who invaded India time and again, implying that they were unable to stop the invasion of our culture and the destruction of our temples and catte-wealth. In his letter, written in 1966 to the then Prime Minister, Mrs. Indira Gandhi of 1966, Lok Nayak Shri Jaya Prakash Narayan wrote that “ For myself, I cannot understand why, in a Hindu majority country like India, where rightly or wrongly, there is such a strong feeling about cow-slaughter, there cannot be a legal ban”. A copy of the letter is annexed and marked as Annex I (4).
64. To add fuel to the fire, immediately after independence and the coming into force of the Constitution, the Central Government directed the State Governments not to put a total ban on slaughter, on the plea that the quality of hides and skins of slaughtered cattle was superior and fetched a better price in the export market than that of naturally dead (fallen) cattle and, therefore, a total ban would be detrimental to the export trade. An extract of the letter dated 20th December, of the letter written by the Central Government is given below.
“Hides from slaughtered cattle are much superior to hides from the fallen cattle and fetch a higher price. In the absence of slaughter the best type of hide, which fetches good price in the export market will no longer be available. A total ban on slaughter is thus detrimental to the export trade and work against the interest of the Tanning industry in the country.
(Courtesy of “Govadh Bharat Ka Kalank Evam Gai Ka Mahatmaya” – Hanuman Prasad Poddar}
65. In July 1995, the Government of India claimed before the Supreme Court that: “It is obvious that the Central Government as a whole is encouraging scientific and sustainable development of livestock resources and their efficient utilization which inter-alia includes production of quality meat for export as well as for domestic market. This is being done with a view of increasing the national wealth as well as better returns to the farmer.”
66. Replying to a debate in the Lok Sabha on a non-official Bill demanding the total banning of the slaughter of the cow and its progeny, the then Prime Minister of India told the Lok Sabha that if the Bill under consideration was passed he would have to consider resigning from the Prime Ministership. This threat of the then Prime Minister led to the withdrawal of the Bill, a Bill which had been debated in the Lok Sabha for some two years and on the adoption of which there seemed to be general agreement in the House.
67. Over a period of time, various judgements of the Supreme Court, as well as the policies of successive Governments in Delhi made way for slaughter of cattle, as well as other animals, larger numbers. In recent decades, the Government has started releasing grants and loans for setting up of the huge so-called ‘modern’ slaughter houses.
Issue of cow slaughter as dealt with in various Five Year Plans
68. In the First Five Year Plan, (in Chapter 19 on Animal Husbandry), the Planning Commission stated that according to the 1951 livestock census, there were 150 million cattle and 43 million buffaloes in the country and that bullocks were the principal motive power available for agricultural operations. The Planning Commission recognised that the annual contribution of livestock to the gross national income was about Rs. 1,000 crores, excluding the value of the animal power for draft purposes in agriculture and transport. However, the Planning Commission also The Plan Document quotes the estimates made by the Cattle Utilisation Committee that about 10 per cent of the cattle population or roughly 11.4 million adults were unserviceable or unproductive. The Planning Commission recommended that measures should be taken for upgrading the cattle and removing useless and inefficient animals to Gosadans. In para-6 of this Chapter, the Planning Commission used the stock, oft-repeated argument that the surplus of useless or inefficient animals was pressing upon the scanty fodder and feed resources, and was an obstacle to making good the deficit (of good milch cows and working buffaloes).
69. In the Second Five Year Plan, again this stock argument was repeated in Chapter 14 and it was observed that 1/3 of cattle population was surplus and therefore the population of cattle is in excess of the available supplies of fodder. In this Plan in para-4 and 5, while referring to the sentiments for banning the slaughter of cattle, as enshrined in Article-48 of the Constitution, which also speaks of the need for organising agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines, the Planning Commission diluted the issue by stating “But in giving effect to this Directive Principle, care has to be taken to see that conditions are not created which may defeat the very objective which the Constitution seeks to achieve”.
70. Relying on the Report of the Expert Committee on the Prevention of Slaughter of Cattle, appointed by the Government of India in 1954 to suggest measures to arrest the deterioration of cattle, the Planning Commission stated in paragraph 5, Chapter 14 that “ the present fodder and other resources of the country are grossly inadequate even for maintaining the existing cattle population. A complete ban on the slaughter of all cattle would tend to increase their number further and to jeopardise the well-being of the limited number of good cattle which the country possesses”. The Planning Commission also relied upon the 1953 finding of the Gosamvardhan Enquiry Committee in Uttar Pradesh, “which estimated that fodder and cattle feeding resources available in the State were sufficient only for about 58 per cent of the cattle population.” (Extracts of paragraphs 4 to 7 of Chapter 14 of the Second Five Year Plan document can be perused in Annexure I (5). Thus, the Planning Commission again discouraged the total ban on cow slaughter, on the basis of the stock argument of paucity of fodder.
71. In the Third Five Year Plan, yet again the Planning Commission, in Chapter 21, discussed the problem of surplus cattle in para-12 and stated that “weeding of inferior stock is a necessary complement to a programme of cattle improvement and systematic breeding”. The programme for establishment of Gosadans was found to be a failure, more or less.
72. In the Fourth Five Year Plan, while discussing the Animal Husbandry situation, the Planning Commission laid down the cattle breeding policy and development programme. The Commission, in para 8.17 referred to the shortage of feed and fodder, which was hampering the increase in the productivity of livestock.
73. In subsequent Plans, the problem of surplus or so called uneconomic cattle and consequent permission to slaughter them, by interpreting the Directive Principles, which was done earlier, was ignored and no concrete steps were taken to prohibit slaughter. In the Seventh Five Year Plan, Cattle Development Programme and cross breeding were taken as main subjects. The work on embryo transfer technology and breeding targets were taken up.
74. The National Commission on Cattle has learnt that, the sub-group No. XI (on Meat and Meat Products), of the Working Group set up by the Planning Commission, to prepare proposals for the Tenth Five Year Plan has given certain recommendations, which although not falling within the direct ambit of the terms of reference of the Commission, none the less is a cause of distress and concern. The Meat sub-group, inter alia, advocates that:
• The expenditure for increase in meat production and exports should be increased from Rs.1384 crores to Rs.1804 crores.
• The National Meat Board should be constituted with a budget of Rs.2 crores per year.
• The age limit for slaughter of bull and bullocks should be reduced from 15 to 16 years.
• The prohibition on export of meat should be removed.
• In ten Metropolitan cities, abattoirs of a big capacity of Rs.20 crores should be installed.
• In 50 important cities, modernised abattoirs should be opened at a cost of Rs.5 crores each.
• In one thousand villages, slaughter houses of Rs.5 lakhs each should be opened.
• In five hundred villages and ten cities carcass plants of Rs.2 crores and Rs.20 lakhs each, respectively, should be opened.
• In 50 places, special mechanical projects for Bone Mills of Rs.20 lakhs each should be opened.
• Each University should have a training and educational centre for slaughter of animals and promotion of meat export at a cost of Rs. 50 lakhs per Centre.
(According to information available with the NCC, at the time of preparing this Report, the Planning Commission has yet to take a final view on these recommendations).
75. In view of this, it is obvious that, on the one hand, the National Commission on Cattle has made a close study, after touring the entire country, and has suggested various ways and methods to the Government for development of cattle and prohibition of slaughter. On the other hand, the Planning Commission, which is a statutory apex body of the Government could be in the process of creating a situation in which the recommendations and report of National Commission on Cattle could well be jeopardised. The Government would be put on the horns of a dilemma, having to choose between the reports of National Commission on Cattle and Planning Commission (if they accept the Meat group report in toto). The N.D.A. Government would be put to the “Acid Test” of having to choose the objective report of the National Commission Cattle against a report based on an imitation of Pseudo-Secularist concepts.
Blind following of western pattern of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry
76. In order to organize the agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines and taking steps for preserving and improving the breeds of cows and calves there has been blind following of the western countries without looking into the nature of our soil, size of out holdings, number of our people, the capacity of our bullocks etc and ignoring completely our traditional methods of farming. Mechanization of agriculture is bringing havoc to our farmers as well as to our agricultural labour. Use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides on a massive scale has not only increased the cost of production but has also poisoned our soil, water and crops and caused health hazards to our people and the cattle. In order to ‘improve’ the productivity of our cows, they are being indiscriminately cross-bred, by artificial insemination, with semen of bulls of foreign breeds, such as Jersey and Holstein - Friesian. The foreign and cross- bred cows and calves are unable to tolerate the heat of summer in our country and their maintenance is very expensive. They eat at least double the quantity of fodder in comparison to our indigenous breeds. They bring with them many diseases not even heard of earlier in our country. They need regular care and medication. The quality of their milk is inferior to that of the indigenous breeds. The effects of medication are also there in the milk of foreign and mixed breeds. Their male calves have no humps and are not that capable of ploughing etc., as are those of our indigenous breeds, as they cannot carry the yoke.
Allocation of “Cattle utilization and slaughter” to Animal Husbandry and Dairy Dept.
77. The subject of ‘Slaughter of Cattle’ does not find a place either in any of the Lists of the VIIth Schedule of our Constitution. In the Allocation of Business Rules, 1961 item No.9, in conformity with item No.15 of list II of VIIth schedule, provides for “Preservation, protection and improvement of stock”. However, business allocated to the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying, as mentioned in the Annual Report for year 1994-95, provides for the subject “Cattle Utilization and Slaughter” without mentioning under which item of which List of VIIth schedule, it is covered. Like-wise, Cabinet Secretariat has also mentioned in the name of the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying, the allocation of business under item (12b) “Cattle Utilization and Slaughter”.
Licenses and Grants for establishing mechanical slaughter houses:
78. Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying of Govt. of India proposed vide its circular F. No.3.34/95/fin for establishing Abattoirs near 10 Air Fields used by Indian Air force, (Hindon, Gwalior, Ambala, Sirsa, Bareilly, Jodhpur, Tejpur, Adampur, Pune and Dundig), stating therein:
The scheme is conceived as a Central Sector scheme on 100% grant basis to be provided to the local bodies Govt. undertaking and other autonomous or semi-autonomous organizations. The grants are intended to cover cost of land, buildings, plant and machinery and margin money for working capital. It is in contravention of the provisions of the Constitution of India and Sec.5 (qq) of the Air Craft Act 1934 which prescribes for the prohibition of slaughtering and flaying of animals and of depositing rubbish, filth and other polluted and obnoxious matter within a radius of 10 km from aerodrome reference point.
79. Another circular No.18-60/92 Meat dated 16.9.93 issued by the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying provides that, for the slaughter house modernization improvement programme, 50% of the project capital cost will be provided by Department of AH&D and balance 50% to be arranged by State Government/meat Corporation / Municipal Corporation/ Municipal Council / Town area Committee / Gram Panchayats jointly or exclusively. The State Governments may also associate with the private meat trader(s) to provide for part contribution for allowing facilities for slaughtering of the traders’ animals.
80. The Government of India is perpetuating mass-scale killing of innocent cattle in lakhs every day, as is evident by phenomenal increase in production of meat as revealed in the Report of the Technical Committee of Direction for Improvement of Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Ministry of Agriculture.
(Meat of Infant calves)
Buffalo 1,16,000 11,82,000
Mutton and Lamb 1,73,000 3,67,000
Existence of large numbers of unlicensed and licensed slaughter houses
81. The Hindustan Times of 9.4.1996 under the heading “Warning bells on cattle depletion” reports that nearly 70 per cent of the total livestock slaughtered in the country caters to the demands of the Middle East alone. The article is extracted below:
“A recent report by the Union Ministry of Environment (MOF) claims that the massive illegal slaughtering of animals has posed a serious threat to their existence and there has been an alarming decrease of animal - human population ratio. According to the data, besides 32,000 illegal slaughter houses, there are 3600 licensed abattoirs in the country.
A senior official in the Ministry of Environment told the Hindustan Times that in 1991-92 the country had exported meat worth Rs.165 crores. The figure rose to Rs.285 crores in 1993-94 and by the turn of the century it is expected to cross Rs.1,000 crores. The money earned will be at the cost of the dwindling number of livestock, he pointed out.
The report states that the cattle human ratio came down from 430 animals per thousand human population in 1951 to 278 in 1981 and if the trend continues it could reach the alarming level of 20 per 1000 by year 2011. The report adds that the buffalo count which was 120 per thousand human population in 1951 came down to 100 in 1981 and will further decrease to 20 by 2011.
Criticizing the Government policy, a senior official in the Ministry of Environment said ‘The Government was planning to kill more animals under the misconception that cattle population in the country was increasing’.
The official further stated that the Central Leather Research Institute, Chennai in its recent analysis mentioned that “indiscriminate slaughter of animals to meet the internal and export demand for meat all these have contributed to the low growth rate of animals”.
Blind Eye to unlawful cow slaughter on Bakr-Id Day in West Bengal, Assam and Orissa
82. Everybody knows that there is no mandate in the Quran or Hadees for ‘Kurbani’ of Cows on Bakar-Id. The Supreme Court in Mohammad Hanif Qureshi Vs. State of Bihar in 1958 (Supra) had held that the Muslims had no religious right to kill cows on Bakar-Id day. In spite of the verdict of the Apex Court, the Government of West Bengal had been providing exemption under Section 12 of the West Bengal Animal Slaughter Control Act 1955 for the Muslims to sacrifice (kill) the cows on Bakar-Id.
83. Shri Kedar Nath Bramachari and others filed a Writ Petition in 1971 against the State of West Bengal and others in the Calcutta High Court, seeking a withdrawal of the exemption from the provisions of the West Bengal legislation on cow slaughter, under which cows were being sacrificed on the occasion of Bakr- Id. The Petition was allowed on 20.8.82 and the High Court held that the exemption to slaughter the cows on Bakar-Id could not be given. The State of West Bengal and others filed appeal in the Supreme Court against the judgement of the Calcutta High Court. The Supreme Court, by its judgement dated 16.11.94, dismissed the appeal and upheld the order of the High Court. But the Government of West Bengal turned a deaf ear and defied the order of the Apex Court in order to appease the Muslims voters. Justice Guman Mal Lodha, M.P. then raised a question in the Parliament asking why, while B.J.P. Government in U.P. could be dismissed for not complying with the order of the Supreme Court in Ayodhya matter, why was the Government of West Bengal not being dismissed for an identical default in West Bengal? The Communist MPs assured the Parliament that the order of the Apex Court would be complied with. The assurance proved to be an eyewash and no action has been taken by the Central Government against the Government of West Bengal in spite of contravention of laws and defying the order of the Apex Court. (Source: “Our Cattle Preservation Laws and the Role of the Government” – Paramanand Mittal)
84. For clearing and steering clear through this situation of being on the horns of a dilemma, we feel persuaded to remind the Government about what words of praise, renowned world scholars have to say about our ancient rich heritage of cow worship, doctrine of Ahimsa and compassion for all animals. It was perhaps due to this rich heritage that, Smt. Indira Gandhi, got Art. 51(g) enacted as a fundamental duty of Indian Citizens, by amending the Constitution in 1976. This was also what led J.P. and Morarji Bhai to join Vinoba Bhave in the crusade to put a total Ban on Slaughter of Cows. J.P’s letter to Jyoti Basu is annexed and marked in Annexure-12 in speech of G.M. Lodha in Loksabha.
85. One of the first Englishmen to visit India, Mr. Ralph Fitch astonished the world by his discovery that the Indians worship cow and used cow dung to paint the wall of their houses. He told the world that the Indians eat root, rice and milk. They will give meal to the ants.
86. According to Mr. Deryck O. Lordrick, a research scholar of California University, no where in the world except in India does man and animal come together in such a rich diversified agricultural environment.. This Reseach Scholar mentioned that Goshalas, which are homes for aged or infirm cattle, and pinjrapoles (animal refuges or shelters) are the expressions of the Indian religious concept of Ahimsa or non-violence to the living creatures, which have baffled European observers since the time of Marco Polo. He highlighted the Jain Teaching of “Ahimsa Paramo Dharma – Ahimsa is the greatest of religions.” in the preface of his book entiteled “Sacred Cows. Sacred Places”.
87. It is interesting that this English Scholar from California University came to India for research and a comprehensive study on Goshalas and Pinjrapoles. His investigations continued in India where, as part of a doctorate study programme, he spent the period from January 1974 to September, 1975 conducting field research, supported by a Research Fellowship awarded by the American Institute of Indian Studies and got affiliated with Banaras Hindu University and Ahmedabad University. He was associated with Dr. A.B. Mukerji of the University of Punjab at Chandigarh and Dr. Harjivan Suthar of Gujarat University at Ahmedabad. He found that the cow is worshipped at various festivals and the bulls of Shiva are suffered to roam in the streets unmolested.
88. Use of “Panchagavya”, in which this Commission is now finding a radical change due to cow urine and cow dung revolution, and which is being promoted in a programme launched in 1998 by the Animal Welfare Board of India, under the Chairmanship of Justice Guman Mal Lodha, gets recognition in this research of Mr. Lodrick.
89. In the words of Mr. Deryck O. Lodrick, “Cow’s milk is used in temple ritual, while to Panchagavya the five products of the cow (milk, curd, ghee, urine and dung) are ascribed certain magical and medicinal properties. Cow dung is used in the home for the ritual purification of the heart. Most high-caste Hindus will not countenance even the slaughtering of cows, let alone the eating of beef.” According to him, as a result, the cow has been a traditional focus of communal discord between Hindu and Muslim fundamentalists ever since the arrival of Islam in India.
90. He also states that “More recently the cow protection movement in India and the legislating of anti-slaughter laws in various states have brought the issue out of the realm of folk culture and religion and into the modern political arena, with demands from traditionalists for a total ban on slaughter throughout the country. In April, 1979, for instance, Acharya Vinoba Bhave, a much respected Social reformer, the Champion of Bhoodaan movement and spiritual heir to Mahatma Gandhi, went on a hunger strike to pressure the Central Government into imposing a nationwide ban on cow slaughter in India. At first Prime Minister Morarji Desai claimed to be helpless, arguing that anti-slaughter legislation lay within the realm of the States powers and not that of the Delhi Government, but such was the popular outcry to support of the Acharya that Desai was forced to intervene. Only after Bhave was assured by the Prime Minister that the Central Government would push for a national ban on the slaughter of cattle with all possible speed did he break his five day fast.”
91. His finding is that “cattle play a much wider role in the life of India, the repercussions of which are far-reaching. To many Hindus, the cow is not just an animal to be exploited economically but is viewed with a reverence and respect normally reserved for the senior members of one’s own family, or even for the lesser gods of the Hindu pantheon. Indeed the extent to which reverence for the cow in particular and cattle in general is carried can be seen in Hindu religion and mythology. The bull in the form of Nandi, for example, is the sacred vehicle of Shiva, the Destroyer of the Hindu Trinity, and is found at the entrance to all Shiva Temples throughout the land. The bull is also linked with other Hindu Gods, such as Dyaus, Agni, Rudra and Indra, Krishna is represented as the ‘cowherd” god, and many of the tales and legends of his life pursue this motif, linking him to the cow and pastoral settings. The cow, itself a symbol of fertility, figures prominently in Hindu myth and legend, appearing as Surabhi, the mother of all cows, as Kamdhenu, the cow that grants all desires, or as the home of all the gods save one, Lakshmi, who finding no space remaining in the body of the cow is forced to take up her abode in its dung. The existence of goloka, the place of the cows, which ranks above the heavens of mere gods and mortals, the primeval ocean of milk which is churned by gods and demons, the frequent allusions to the cow in the sacred literature-all attest to the prominent position of the cow in the religious life of India.”
92. Lordrick concludes that: “religious associations with cattle go back several thousand years, and Eduard Hahn suggests that these very associations provided the initial stimulus for the domestication of cattle by man. As early as 8500 B.P. the Southern Turkey that provides one of the first instances of cattle depicted in a specifically religious context. Bull cults may well have diffused throughout the eastern Mediterranean lands”.
93. The researcher finds great similarity in cow worship by Egyptians and Indians when he discovers that: “various sky and storm gods in Mesopotamia, Egypt and the Levant as a bull, often as consort to a Mother Goddess, has its counterpart in the association of the bull with Dyaus, Rudra, and Indra in Vedic India.
94. According to Mr. Deryck O. Lodrick, “the cow emerges as the symbol of a female deity. In pre-Dyanastic Egypt, the Mother Goddess, regarded by some as one of the most important deities of the time, is identified with the cow on Nagada remains, one of her standards being cow horns mounted on sticks originally worshipped in the form of a cow as a fertility symbol, came to be linked with the Sky-Goddess not assuming the body of the celestial cow. In this dual capacity of sky-goddess and cow goddess, she exercised her maternal functions from the Gerzean phase of the Predynastic epoch to the beginning of the Roman period in due course becoming identified with all the local goddesses and the heavens in their entirety at once the mother and wife of Re and Horus, the ‘mistress of the stars’, the lady of the West and of the underworld, the goddess of love of music and the sacred dance”. (Egyptians worshipping Cow Goddess as depicted in the Sculpture of Egypt is annexed in Annexure I (6).
95. We also find reverence for the Cow as mother Goddess in his following findings.
“Cattle or herds of cattle or the products of the cow are the standard iteams mentioned in descriptions of wealth. Cattle constituted the great booty in war. No other animal was so much appreciated for its economic value”.
96. Referring to the Vedic period, the author says about the importance of cow as follows:
“Of equal, if not of greater, importance is the emergence during the Vedic period of the cow as the Supreme Symbol of femininity in all its aspects of fecundity, maternity and life-giving sustenance. The cow is Earth; the cow is the mother of the gods; cows are rain clouds; cow are the cosmic waters from which the universe is created. So pervasive is the pastoral symbolism in the Vedas, so widespread the figurative use of the word cow, that eventually it comes to be taken literally”
97. A unique discovery of this researcher is that “Jains” first innovated “Pinjrapoles” or homes for old and infirm cows, in the beginning of Eighth Century. Mr.Deryck O. Lordrick’s finding is that the Pinjrapoles have been existing before Buddha. He says that “Thus although available evidence places the first Pinjrapoles in the reign of the Buddhist, Ashoka, the institutions could well have existed among the Jains at an earlier time. The persistent Jain, and apparent lack of Buddhist, involvement with the institution in modern India, the central position of Ahimsa in Jain philosophy and its appearance in Jainism as early as the beginning of the eighth century B.C. would all tend to support this point of view”.
98. According to Mr. Deryck O. Lordrick, “the Arthasastra did impose certain restrictions on the injury and slaughter of some cattle. Cattle such as a calf, a bull or a millch cow shall not be slaughtered. He who slaughters or tortures them to death shall be fined 50 anas. Owners of trespassing cattle could be fined and the guilty animals driven off, but they were not to be hurt or killed. But most important of all is the discussion in the Arthasastra of the duties of the Superintendent of cows (Godyaksa) for these include the supervision of useless and abandoned herds (bhagnotsrshtakam). When those who rear a hundred heads made up of equal numbers each of afflicted cattle, crippled cattle, cattle that cannot be milked by anyone but the accustomed person, cattle that are not easily milked, and cattle that kill their own calves, give in return (to the owner) a share in dairy produce, it is termed useless and abandoned herd. Further cowherds were directed to apply remedies to calves and to aged and diseased cows”.
99. Just as the sanctity and inviolability of the cow were used as a Hindu symbol to combat the spread of Invaders and as a rallying cry for Maratha resistance against Moghul power, so the concepts of Ahimsa and of the sacred cow were identified with the struggle against Western influence in India. One reason advanced for the emergence of Goshalas and pinjrapoles at this time was the imperial Government’s lack of interest in the protection and preservation of the cow.
100. Mr. Deryck O. Lordrick of California University concludes as under:
“As in Moghul India, the cow and attitudes toward the cow became associated with conflicting cultures, so much so that the traditional Hindu respect and reverence for the cow became a cause celebre in the nationalist movement. Just as Khadi and the Gandhi cap identified the wearer as a sympathizer with the nationalist cause, so veneration of the cow became the sine qua non for those who supported independence from the British. Gomata, Mother Cow became the emblem of “Indianness” and it is not surprising to find today that the symbol of the Congress Party, the successor to the Indian National Congress, is the cow and sucking calf.”
Plight of the Cow in modern India
101. As a symbol of the then Congress Ruling Party, the pair of bullocks ploughing in the field represented the general acceptance, even though it may have been under the influence of Pseudo-Secularism, that 85% of the Indian population employed in agriculture, cultivated their fields by use of bullocks. The tractor and chemical fertilizer invasion to which the Indian economists and national leaders surrendered, in the name of the Green Revolution, wiped off and gave a death blow to the cows and bullocks, making them ‘uneconomic’ from ‘economic’ and ‘useless’ from ‘useful’.
102. After more than 50 years of Independence or Swaraj, the beloved cow and its progeny, which is being slaughtered under the license of 3500 legal and 34000 illegal slaughter houses and abattoirs could not be saved from the clutches of the blood-thirsty butchers and leather mafia. The tales of woe and tragedy, of flowing of rivers of the blood of the cow, is too heart- rending, Society-rocking, Nation-shocking, Nerve-breaking, Constitution and Law racking and cracking. The sacred land where ‘Gomata’ used to be worshipped as the real mother and also as ‘Bharat Mata’ by patriots and worshippers, Gods, saints, like Sri Rama, Krishna, Siva, Mahavira, Guru Nanak, Buddha, Asoka, Vinoba Bhave, Sankaracharya, Hardev Sahay, Shivaji and others, has become most unsacred and sinful by this.
103. Around one hundred worshipers of the cow laid down their lives in 1966, during the agitation seeking for total ban on cow slaughter in Parliament Street, Delhi, when they were shot down for raising slogans like “Gomata ki Jai” They were all aching for rebirth to achieve their objects. But, so far, neither have they got rebirth nor achieved the total ban on cow slaughter, with the result that about 2 crores of cows, bulls, bullocks and cow-calves continue to be slaughtered in India every year.
104. The National Commission on Cattle has been constituted by the Hon’ble Prime Minister, A.B. Vajpayee, who adorns the highest office in the land, with the support of 100 crores of Indian souls. His strong will, burning desire and firm determination is to wipe of every blot of blood of the cow and its progeny and every tear from the eyes of the Holy Cow, who faces the kinife of the butchers on her neck, instead of getting pats from Lord Krishna, Rama, Mahavira, Gandhi and Vinoba Bhave and restore the piousness of the sacred waters of Ganga, Yamuna, Saraswathi, Kaveri and Brahmaputra and not to pollute them with cows’ blood any more.
105. The Commission recollects the following historical and memorable pledge of the Vajpayee Government, as reflected in the speech of His Excellency, the President of India, Shri Shankardayal Sharma, made in the Central Hall of Parliament on 25.5.1996, while addressing both Houses of Parliament:
“Our Government would take suitable steps to prohibit slaughter of cow and its progeny and for their preservation”.
106. The Constituent Assembly debates, which resulted in the enactment of Article 48 as a Directive Principle was further supplemented later by inclusion of Article 51 (g) in the Fundamental Duties which reads thus: “It shall be the fundamental duty of every citizen of India to protect and improve the Natural Environment, including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife and to have Compassion for all living creatures”. The amendment was done in 1976 and Article 48A was added by amendment in the year1977.
107. In the debate in the Lok Sabha, mentioned earlier, in which, despite a consensus for passing a Central Law banning the slaughter of cow and its progeny, the proposal was vetoed by the then Prime Minister, Pandit Jawarharlal Nehru, the then Attorney General was made to inform the Parliament that a Central Law could not be made, as Agriculture and Animal Husbandry were State Subjects. Other attempts to get the legislation through were also thwarted. In particular, one may mention the instance when, within a period of one year from Vinobaji’s 5-day hunger strike, a Resolution was passed on a Private Member’s Bill on 12th April, 1979, which was limited to the scope of Article 48, which meant that the issue of total ban on slaughter of the cow and its progeny was not included in it.
108. In 1990, a Private Member’s Bill was introduced by Justice G.M. Lodha of B.J.P. as Bill No.82/90 - Annexure I (7), which was followed by Resolution dated 24th April, 1990, copy at Annex I (8), put up by Justice Lodha, which was debated from 4th May, 1990 onwards.
109. On 17th August 1990, the Resolution of Justice Guman Mal Lodha, strongly supported by party President, Shri L.K. Advani, as well as by the Congress Members, was passed by voting by electronic machine, with 37 persons supporting it and 35 against. At that time, the voting took place although Shri Nitish Kumar, the then Agriculture Minister, while appreciating the sentiments behind the Resolution, requested that it be withdrawn. However, Shri Advani, who was the Leader of the BJP in the Lok Sabha, insisted that voting must take place and the Resolution must be adopted.
110. However, after the Resolution was passed, Shri V.P. Singh’s Government, which was not prepared to face defeat on the floor of the House, insisted on a physical count, on the pretext that the margin was very small. Mr. Vasanth Sathe, wholeheartedly supported the BJP Resolution officially on behalf of the Congress. But due to the maneuvering of change of opinion in the slips given for head count by Shri Shivraj Patil, the Resolution was rejected due to the change of opinion of some of the Janata Party leaders. A press clipping of the news item in the Times of India dated 17th August 1990 is annexed as Annex I (9).
111. It is interesting to note that those Members, who supported the slaughter prohibition earlier, changed their opinion later, when it came to voting by slip voting. The lists of the results of the final slip voting are annexed as Annexure I (10). It can be seen that Shri Bage Gobardhan (Orissa), Shri Yuvaraj (Bihar), Shri Het Ram (Haryana), Prof. S.P. Yadav (U.P). Shri Mandhata Singh (U.P.), Shri A.N.Sngh Deo (Orissa), Shri Ramendra Kumar Ravi Yadav (Bihar), Shri Ram Sharan (Orissa), Shri Bhabani Shanker Hota, Shri Ravi Narajan Pani (Orissa), Shri Bangali Singh (U.P.), Shri Sarvar Hussain (U.P.), Shri Ram Naresh Singh (Bihar) and Shri Hira Bhai (Rajasthan) - all belonging to the Janata Dal - who had earlier supported the Resolution, changed their voting by slip to save the Government of V.P. Singh. The land-mark and historical speech of Justice Guman Mal Lodha is enclosed herewith and marked as Annex I (11).
112. Soon after, Shri Sunderlal Patwa, the then Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, got a legislation passed in the State for total ban on cow slaughter and he was honoured for it. A similar attempt was made by the Gujarat Chief Minister, Chimanbhai Patel, after the murder of an activist Geetaben Shah in 1993. Shri Patel got a resolution passed and issued an ordinance banning cow slaughter. Administrative orders were also issued, banning the slaughter of all animals during the 10-day Jain festival of Paryushan. The Gujarat Government also launched a State-wide drive against illegal slaughter houses. All these actions were opposed by the butchers,, who were the killers of animal activists like Geetaben Shah.
113. The U.P.Government made a similar attempt in 1992. However, the proposed legislation is still pending before the President for his approval. Press clipping of the news-item in this connection is marked as Annex I (12).
114. As mentioned earlier, the martyrdom of Gitaben at Ahmedabad resulted in Chimanbhai Government passing legislation for a complete ban on 3rd October, 1993. (Paper clipping is annexed herewith as Annex I (13).
115. The Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Bill 1995 banning slaughter of cow and its progeny was also passed by the Assembly on 10th Aug. 1995. Press news appeared in Hindustan Times dated 11th Aug. 1995 is enclosed herewith and marked as Annex I (14).
116. The Supreme Court passed its Judgement on 16th Nov. 1994 by which the killing of cows as sacrifice during the festival Bakri Id was banned by a Bench comprising of Justice Mr. Kuldip Singh, Mr. Justice B.L. Hansaria and Justice Mr. Justice S.BV. Majumdar. (A copy of the press clipping is enclosed herewith and marked as Annex I (15).
117. The Delhi Government has already enforced a total ban on slaughter of Cow and its progeny by passing the Delhi Agricultural Cattle Preservation Bill, 1994 (Press Clipping is enclosed herewith and marked as Annex I (16).
Views of opponents of ban on cow slaughter
118. The Leftist press in Calcutta, influenced by the CPM party, however, opposed the move, for a ban on cow slaughter, as is evident from the article from the Telegraph, Calcutta dated 14th Aug. 1994 at Annex I (17) . Similarly, the Urdu Press in a Convention / Seminar opposed it as mentioned in the Pioneer, New Delhi dated 3rd May, 1994, as per the clipping enclosed herewith and marked as Annex I (18) .
119. The CPM Member of Parliament, Mr. Saifuddin Choudhury, who is dead against the ban on slaughtering of cowm has written an Article “Why This preferential treatment for cows?”, which is enclosed as Annex I (19).
120. The Leftist party of CPM at Calcutta even took exception to the passing of the Ordinance of the Chimanbhai Government in Gujarat for protection of cow and its progeny and Mr. Arvind Kala of Calcutta wrote under the caption “Vegetarian fundamentalists put the lives of cattle over those of humans” and the same was highlighted in Telegraph of Calcutta dated 10th Oct. 1993. He termed it as “Vegetarian Madness” also - Annex I (20).
121. It would be thus seen that, although Members of Parliament, Mr. Krishan Lal Sharma, Dr. Balram Jakhar, Shri Aravind Netam, Shri Vishnu Kant Shastri and Dr. Riplar Das Gupta drew attention to the Directive Principles and argued for banning slaughter of cow and its progeny in the Unstarred Question No.364, answered on 28.4.1995, and a similar question (No.1121) put by Shri Parashuram Gangwar, Chandresh Patel Kordia and various others, the Leftist and fundamentalist Muslims dominated the Press continuously and opposed the ban and did not make any reconciliation in this respect.
Constitutional hurdles and impediments for a total ban on cow slaughter
122. As mentioned earlier, in 1977, Dr. Ramjeet Singh got a Resolution passed in the Lok Sabha for banning cow slaughter in terms of Article 48. However, the Bill introduced by Seth Govind Das in this regard could not be passed, due to Panditji’s VETO.
123. In view of the above, in 1996, Justice Guman Mal Lodha, M.P., again insisted on the introduction of a Resolution and a Bill for having a complete ban on slaughter of the cow and its progeny. At the beginning of the Session, President, Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma in his speech on 25th May, 1996 declared the Government’s intention to prohibit the slaughter of cow and its progeny, but later on, even the vote of thanks on the President’s speech to both Houses of Parliament could not be passed. A copy of the verbatim proceedings at the debate on the President’s speech is annexed at Annex I (21).
124. We are, therefore, now confronted with a situation where constitutional hurdles and impediments have been created by a series of court judgements, including the Supreme Court judgement in the case of Mohd. Hanif Qureshi Vs. State of Bihar, the latest being the case of Hashumatullah Vs. State of M.P. and others (Civil Appeal No.8250 of 1996). In the judgements in the cases of Mohd. Hanif Quresh and others Vs. State of Bihar (AIR 1959 SCR 629), Abdul Hakim and others Vs. State of Bihar (AIR 1961 SC 448) and Mohd. Faruk Vs. State of Madhya Pradesh and others (1970 (1) SCR 1456), the Supreme Court has held as under:
“A total ban was not permissible if, under economic conditions, keeping useless bull or bullock be a burden on the society and therefore not in the public interest.”
125. To over come the above Judgements, the Animal Welfare Board of India submitted a Memorandum to the Constitution Review Commission headed by Justice Venkatachalliah, recommending amendment of the Fundamental Rights Chapter, to include a total prohibition on the slaughter of cow and its progeny, but this was in vain. The Commission simply ignored this representation and gave no opinion. The Chairman of the Constitution Review Commission, in a personal meeting with NCC Acting Chairman, appreciated the idea and even accepted that “Cow dung and Urine” utilization which he has seen in Haryana Ladwa Goshala has proved that cow is never useless. A copy of the Memorandum presented by the Chairman, Animal Welfare Board of India, Jusitce Guman Mal Lodha, who is also Vice Chairman and Acting Chairman of the National Commission on Cattle is at Annex I (22).
126. The fact that the Constitution Review Commission did not bother to express any opinion on the Memorandum, submitted by the Chairman, AWBI, may be because they were concerned more about the Government, democratic functioning and the Constitutional implications of the no-confidence moves against parties in power in the Centre, because of the earlier defeat, by one vote, of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s Government and the later failure of the Opposition to form an alternative Government.
127. It is obvious that cattle do not have any lobbies. The cow is a speechless, harmless, and dumb animal, which is not even recognized as having a soul in the early Biblical belief and also others, who are sacrificing it on Bakri Id. The greedy Hindus, who are in the leather business or in the cow-smuggling business, prefer money-cow to Mother-cow, and they are the worst enemies of “Mother Cow”.
128. The sacred and pious cow has, therefore, become a victim. In spite of the fact that, out of the 100 crore strong human population of India, at least 80-90 crores, treat it as “mother cow”, pious cow, holy cow; they have not yet mustered up enough courage to unite and raise the issues of banning of slaughter and eating of cow flesh, beef, which is prevalent in the State of Kerala, and in Eastern States, including West Bengal, to a limited extent.
129. The National Commission on Cattle has, therefore, surveyed and taken the opinion of people throughout the country, by having an extensive and intensive tour of importance places in all the States . At least 2 to 3 important towns and cities in each State, and some villages have been visited, so that the Members could inter-act with people and obtain first-hand information on the public views, Govt. records and opinion. It is heartening to note that, by and large, almost all have pleaded for a total ban on slaughter of cow and its progeny. The isolated voices of hardly 2 to 4 persons were heard in support of mercy killing of cow, suffering from illness or starvation. Of course, the Kerala and North Eastern microscopic minority refuses to fall in the mainstream of the Country and have raised their voices in dissent.
130. The scenario regarding the perception of people of this country, over the problem of cattle as of now in the 21st century, also required in-depth study. The Commission has done it both by sending questionnaires and obtaining their replies and holding hearings of public, as well as conducting meetings with Government Officers related with the subject.
Region-based perceptions on the cow question
131. Broadly speaking, the North and Western States of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Western Bihar, Maharashtra can be treated as the famous historical “cow belt”. Our public hearings and also interactions in meetings with Government Officers in these States and their replies to our questionnaires, as well as the legislations enacted, reveal that all these States have strong public opinion, supporting a total ban on slaughter of cow and its progeny, as a whole, with no exceptions. It is significant that even the laws of some of these States have been enacted time and again for the same but the total ban has been declared ultravires, right from 1958 Mohammed Qureshi’s case till the last one of Hashmathullah’s case for the period 1958-1996. In M.P., U.P., Bihar and other States the ban has been held valid only on cow slaughter. However, the laws of Rajasthan, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir are still remaining intact imposing a total prohibition of slaughter of cow and its progeny. In States, like M.P. and U.P., efforts have been made, at least twice or thrice, by the legislators, mostly unanimously, to impose a total ban.
132. The Eastern States of Bengal, Orissa, areas of Bihar and Jharkhand adjoining Bengal and Orissa, Assam and the North Eastern States like Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, etc., have got different perceptions, both of the Government and the people. So far as the people are concerned, even in Bihar and Orisssa, Jharkhand and West Bengal, the majority community at all places have got strong sentiments and feeling of cow as the mother and not permitting it for slaughter. However, the scenario in North Eastern States is different, which is dominated by Christians and other communities.
133. The slaughter of cows on the occasion of Bakrid in West Bengal is described in detail in the chapter on Implementation of Laws by the Sub-Committee, convened by Shri K.C. Mehta. The report, along with a separate report by Shri Jaroli and other consultant, gives a graphic description of the Bakrid massacres. This perception has to be kept in view. While considering the question of Central Laws or Constitutional amendments would help to compel these State Governments but the problems arising from majority massive mandate will have to be assessed in terms of country’s unity and sentiments and the vast majority of people, who are opposed by a handful of misguided microscopic minority of fundamentalists.
134. During the hearing at Bhubaneshwar, Orissa, a shocking incident was noticed by the Commission. It was discovered that cow beef was being supplied daily to the Government-run Zoo for the past many years together by professional butchers, for which tenders were floated by the Zoo officials. The Commision’s visit to the spot resulted in the arrest of the butchers and other involved, who were caught red0handed. It would appear that the laws in Orissa are on paper only. The defence put forth by the Collector at the Public hearing at Cuttack, held immediately after the above incident, when it was stated that they had to ignore such incidents for the reason that it would otherwise create a “social problem”, was another eye opener.
135. Similarly, in Jharkhand, in a public hearing, a retired Superintendent of Police said that the police officials could not take action for cow protection because they feared that the cow slaughter Mafia would kill their families and the Government would not be able to help and protect them. Even an appeal was made to the Chief Minister, who tried to avoid this issue on the ground that confrontation is not advisable and the Police and Government and other agencies may not be enthusiastic for cow protection as there is coalition.
136. If we turn to the Southern States of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, we find that the public sentiments and feelings of around 85 per cent to 90 per cent of the people, support cow slaughter prohibition. The Governments of these States are not enthusiastic, mainly because of what they call as “social problems”, which is really the problem of appeasing minorities fundamentalists by permitting them to violate the laws in respect of cattle prohibition.
137. The Public hearings at these places reveal that the people do not share their views with the Government. In public hearings almost 100 per cent people were in favour of total prohibition of cow slaughter. But the Government officers and the political leaders expressed their helplessness to enforce the laws made by them, on the innovated ground of ‘social problem’.
138. The State of Kerala of course is different from other States. Here, there is no law, whatsoever, prohibiting the slaughter of any cattle and even cows and calves are openly slaughtered on mass-scale. The State of Kerala can be termed as the ‘Cow Slaughter State’, where the main business in the market is slaughter of cattle and sale of beef. It is for this reason that other States get rid of their cattle by allowing them to be smuggled to Kerala.
139. If we look at the total scenario of the country, therefore, we find that, whereas almost 85% to 95% of the majority community and 60 to 70% of the minority communities, support the cow protection laws, an insignificant microscopic minority of the population is against it. Even in the segment, of people who are against a total ban, most of them oppose it due to commercial reasons of smuggling of cow and for its leather and beef. Yet another reason is that many people belonging to the minority community are misguided by fundamentalists, who have made it a prestige issue more to tease the majority rather than having the genuine need of eating beef.
140. Sizable numbers of Hindus in Kerala also join their Muslim and Christian brothers and have started eating beef. Our public hearing on 24.6.2002 at Kochi revealed that a vast majority of people are beef-eaters and many earn their livelihood mainly from the “Beef” production and cattle-slaughter trade and smuggling of cattle. That this should happen in the birth place of Adi Shankarachaya is most unfortunate and only proves that nothing is static and permanent and that perceptions change with times and circumstances.
141. There was general apathy to the Commission in Kerala and only 30 to 40 persons attended the public hearing at Thiruvananthapuram. When those who were in support of total prohibition of cow slaughter were asked to raise their hands, it was found that only one person wanted partial prohibition, and all the remaining persons were against enactment of any law whatsoever. What was surprising was that 40% of the audience were ladies, who were against any law and apparently wanted “Kerala” to be “Free port Zone” Paradise for slaughter of the cow and its progeny, and a picnic spot for “Beef” eaters. The Commission learnt to its surprise that most of the people present, were actually employees of the Animal Husbandry Department of Kerala on duty in the Commission’s public hearing in the Capital of the State and the members of the general public were mostly absent.
142. A study of the demographic profile of Kerala shows that its human population of around 32.35 million constitutes 3.25% of the total population of India, Indian population of 1002.1m. Its cattle population is 33,66,000 i.e. 1.72% of Indian Cattle population of 19,58,30,000.
143. Amongst the human population of Kerala, approximately 52% are Hindus, 28% are Christians and 20% are Muslims. It is estimated that a sizeable percentage of the Hindu population and almost all persons belonging to the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and other backward classes of the population, are beef-eaters, mainly due to poverty. Almost all Christians and Muslims are thought to be “Beef-eaters”. Many of them indulge in smuggling and sale of cattle for slaughter. The State is a virtual slaughter house and the State appears to feel privileged to be known as the “Butcher State of India.” Kerala gets support only in Nagaland, Mizoram and other small North Eastern States, inhabited mostly by Christians.
144. On 4th December, 1969, the then Agriculture State Minister, in reply to a Question in Parliament, put by Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee, present Prime Minister and then M.P., Surajbhan, Yagyadutt Sharma and Jaganata Rao Joshi (all J.S. MPs), replied that Kerala, Nagaland, Goa, Laksh Dweep and Daman have not prohibited cow slaughter but the Government of India has advised them to do so.
145. Even in Kerala, there are Panchayat Slaughter House Rules, which permit the slaughter only if it is certified that the animal is more than 10 years of age and is unfit for work or breeding. However, the Commission found that, in actual practice, the above rule is non-functional in Kerala.
Trends in cattle population growth
146. The figures of livestock population of India growth patterns thereof, for the period 1951 to 1992, as given in Tables 30 and 31 respectively of Basic Animal Husbandry Statistics, 1999, published by the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India are enclosed as Annexure I (23). It may be noted from Table 31 that the average annual growth rate of cattle has been consistently amongst the lowest, when compared to growth rates of other species of livestock, except for the period 1956-61, when it was not quite so low. During 1987-1992, the annual growth rate of cattle was 0.48%, whereas that of buffaloes was 2.09% in the same period.
147. The comparative figures of cattle population and their distribution in 1987 and 1992 are given in Table 32 of Basic Animal Husbandry Statistics - placed at Annexure I (24) - from which it can be seen that, while there has been an average annual growth of 5.92% in cross-bred cattle in the period 1987 to 1992, the number of indigenous cattle has grown only by 0.12% during the same period. The total cattle population in 1992 has been shown as 20,45,84,000, as against a population of 19,96,95,000, which reflects an average annual growth rate of only 0.48 per cent during the period 1987-1992.
148. The Sex-wise and State-wise distribution, in 1987 and 1992, of cross-bred and indigenous cattle, as shown in Tables 35 and 36 respectively of Basic Animal Husbandry Statistics, 1999 are placed at Annexure I (25) and Annexure I (26) respectively. The State-wise distribution of population of Work Animals, as given in Table No.41 of Basic Animal Husbandry Statistics, 1999 is placed at Annexure I (27).
149. The official results of the 1997 Livestock Census are still not available. However, a comparative statement showing the provisional figures of State-wise distribution of cattle population in 1992 and 1997 is placed at Annexure I (28). It would be seen that the cattle population, which numbered 20,45,84,000 in the year 1992 has actually decreased to the figure of 19,58,30,000 cattle in 1997. For the first time, therefore, since 1951, there has been a negative growth in the cattle population of the country, which is indeed a cause for great alarm, and should sound warning bells for our policy-makers and the population at large.
150. On perusal of the provisional figures, provided in Annexure 30, we find that the States of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala show a negative growth or decrease in the population of cattle during the period 1992-97. This shows that there is large-scale slaughter and smuggling of cattle for slaughter during these years in these stated.
151. Figures of World Livestock Population during the years 1990 to 1997, as given in Table 103 of Basic Animal Husbandry Statistics, 1999, which is marked as Annexure I (29), shows that the number of cattle has gone up from 1284.6 million in 1990 to 1333.6 million in 1997, which signifies an average annual growth rate of 0.54%. On the other hand, the world population of buffaloes has increased from 146.1 million in 1990 to 166.7 million in 1997, which is an annual increase of 2% approximately.
152. Estimates of the total Milk production in the World during the period 1985 to 1997 is shown in Table No.104 of Basic Animal Husbandry Statistics, 1999 is also given in Annexure I (29). From this, it can be seen that, cow milk production in 1997 was 471.8 million tonnes, which constituted 86.3% of the total milk produced in the world, whereas the production of buffalo milk was of the order of 55.9 million tonnes, accounting for 10.2% of the total world milk production.
153. The production of cow milk by major countries of the world 1992-97 is shown in Table No.105 of Basic Animal Husbandry Statistics, 1999 marked as Annexure I (30). It is seen from the table that, in 1997, India produced 7.3 per cent and the U.S.A. produces 15.1 per cent of the total milk production in the world. Of course, India has since overtaken the USA, to become the number one producer of milk in the world.
154. An estimated One crore thirty seven lakh eighty seven thousand cattle, out of over 21 crore cattle, were slaughtered in India in 1998, as shown in Table 29 of Basic Animal Husbandry Statistics 1999, placed at Annexure I (31). Beef & Veal meat production, which was 70 thousand tonnes in 1976, increased to Thirteen lakh seventy eight thousand tons in 1997, in spite of the BAN & prohibition of slaughter of cow and calf in almost all States, except Kerala and North Eastern small states. Table 27 of Basic Animal Husbandry Statistics, 1999, showing the quantities of meat of various animals produced in the country from 1976 to 1997 is annexed herewith and marked as Annexure I (32).
155. The Meat Sector lobby projects that a loss of Rs.21900 crores and Rs.828 crores from meat production and 2232 crores from by-products (hide and skins) respectively, will take place if the slaughter of cattle is stopped. This threat of loss of income is utilized for floating proposals for flooding the country with rural abattoirs, as suggested by the XI Panel on Meat Sector of the Working Group on Animal Husbandry set up by the Planning Commission for Tenth Plan proposals. The recommendations of this Panel have sent red alert signals to all “Swadeshi”, cow lovers and animal activists.
Views of the Chairman
156. The N.C.C. Chairman, Shri Dharampal feels that there is an urgent need to abandon the proposals of the “Meat Sector” Panel for flooding the country with Abattoirs, for setting up “Rural Slaughter Houses” in each village and for abrogating laws of cattle production and buffalo protection, to increase the production and exports of meat including Beef. He has pleaded for total stoppage of export of Meat of all kinds from India and also the import of Meat into India.
157. Though it would, in many places, be a repetition of what I have already mentioned, out of respect for the Chairman, I am reproducing his views on this subject, which are as follows:
“Nineteenth century India, fully dominated and conquered by the British, was, amongst other things, also a major playground for the display of the benefits and virtues of animal slaughter and consumption of animal flesh. Starting from Madras and Calcutta in the late 18th Century AD, propagation of meat eating was taken up by the British, especially the Protestant Christian Missionaries to every nook and corner of India. Even the boy, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (later known as Mahatma Gandhi) did not wholly escape this great European boon. As he tells us in his “A Story of My Experiments with Truth”, he and other boys of his age were day in and day out told of the great physical strength derived from eating animal flesh, and compared to the puny Indian, the meat eating Englishman was a giant, and it was this meat eating which made him capable of dominating and conquering India. However, as Gandhiji tells us, he and very many others of his friends were able to escape the pressures and temptations put before them, because of the long continuing vegetarian parampara and vaishnav up-brining of their ancient communities.
It is not as if Indians are not given to the eating of fish, or of a variety of animal flesh. Excepting the flesh of the cow and its progeny, many Indians do eat animal flesh from time to time. But they do not however make a fetish of it and usually tend to keep such eating to the minimum.
Similarly the eating of buffalo flesh has been much avoided by most people of India till about a century or so before.
The Transfer of Power from Britain to India however (perhaps it looks more honorable in our present day lowly position in the world to emphasize that what we got was really the Swaraj that we wanted) brought up a major propagation of meat eating, this time by committees and officers of the Indian State, and not just by the Christian Missionaries. Scores of committees, since around 1947, have worked on how to provide Indians a more animal protein diet, how to modify the breed of cattle, especially of buffaloes, so that they do not only give milk, but through sophisticated slaughtering devices also provided succulent animal flesh.
Our contributions as a relatively non-violent people thus is, not only to make meat available to some more of our already well-fed middle-classes - the administrators, the managerial classes, the defense services, the politicians and the rest. Rumors of course are in plenty. For instance it is stated by academics in Calcutta that some 22% of the Hindus there are thought to eat cow flesh, and in Kerala this proportion may be somewhat higher.
It is usually said today that you cannot really be sure if there is not a tiny little bit of some cow part in the pills or medicine one is prescribed, for whatever ailment, by the westernized medical men to whom we of the middle classes go so often.
Mentioning that you or your family could not even think of having any tiny bit of the flesh of the cow, even as medicine, is no longer taken as a serious statement. Such statements have now become quite out of place in the India we have made. Even the desire to really find the truth of the situation has become ever more meaningless. The credit for this transformation, or its being propagated through government blue books, can certainly be taken by the Indian State and those who have headed it for some 50 years, and lakhs and lakhs of others, who have served the State in the desired respective professional capacities. These seem to include practically every Indian who matters.
How did we actually arrive at the present state? One may have taken an early beginning in 1950. Soon after the adoption of the Indian Constitution it was left to the 15 or so constituting states to enact their own laws on the welfare of the cow and its progeny and for the banning of their slaughter. Just when the states were in the process of taking decisions on the subject, the Government of India sent a letter dated 20th December 1950 to all State Governments. The letter said-
“Hides from slaughtered cattle are much superior to his from fallen cattle and fetch a higher price. In the absence of slaughter, the best type of hide, which fetches good price in the export market will no longer be available. A total ban on slaughter is thus detrimental to the export trade and work against the tanning industry in the country”
In 1954, the Government of India (Ministry of Food and Agriculture) appointed an “Expert Committee on the Prevention of Slaughter of Cattle in India”, which gave its report in January 1955. In the very middle of the report, the Committee began to say that as we do not have enough fodder we cannot maintain more than 40% of our cattle. According to it, 60% of the rest had to be culled from the Indian Cattle stock, whenever possible.
In 1970s the Government of India appointed the National Commission on Agriculture. Some of its suggestions regarding buffaloes could be looked at:
“The buffalo should be developed not only for enhancement of milk production but also for making it a source of production of quality meat.”
“A deliberate and energetic drive should be made to develop for export trade in buffalo meat”.
“Modernization of slaughter Houses should be undertaken immediately”
“Massive programmes for improving the reproductive and productive efficiency of cattle and buffaloes should be undertaken. Low producing stock should b progressively eliminated so that the limited feed and fodder resources are available for proper feeding of high producing animals”.
A last point, much nearer our time, in July 1995, may be noticed here. This was a statement made before the Supreme Court by the Government of India. The statement was:
“It is obvious that, the Central Government as whole is encouraging scientific and sustainable development of livestock resources and their efficient utilization, which inter-alia includes production of quality meat for export as well as for domestic market. This is being done with a view of increase in the national wealth as well as better return to the farmer.”
Though our agriculture and cattle and animal rearing have been ruined during the past 50 year, in fact the beginning of this ruin started around 1760 and spread to the whole of India during the 19th century, we, as a relatively non-violent people, seem strangely to have started taking pride that they now slaughter around 2,60,00,000 cattle and buffaloes annually. Of these the buffaloes may be around 40-45%. The number of cattle whose flesh is exported through this vast dedicated state effort may be around 30% of the whole.
The following two documents, recent products of the Indian Planning Commission,
1. Report of Sub Group XI – Meat Sector (July 2001)
2. Extract of 10th Five Year Plan Working Group on Slaughter of Animals (Jan- 2002)
may be taken as continuing products of our post 1950 policies. That the policies of ever larger meat production advocated and planned by our rulers and planners, was not merely to cull out such cattle as had become quite feeble during the period India was under British rule, is quite clear. What has been planned and done is to breed more and more buffaloes and other animal stock, for the production of meat for export, as well as for larger internal consumption. But the programme is also to familiarize our people with the planned slaughter of animals, to make them insensitive to the process of killing, and in the end to make them treat such killing as a blessing for all including those slaughtered. Hence, the suggestion of the setting up of tens of thousands of rural abattoirs and numerous similar slaughter places.
Many of the readers may find all this horrifying to read. It is not to increase their pain and sorrow that this material is included here. It is rather because we want to share what has fallen to our lot on the subject of state-designed and planned animal slaughter in India that we are compelled to do so.
As the Planning Commission documents area still to be approved or thrown out largely, our people have an opportunity to be familiar with the reality of the policies of our state and where these arte leading us, and trying to create and widen a major breach between our parampara and the future of our land and people.
Let the State wake up in time”
158. Table No.110 of Basic Animal Husbandry Statistics, 1999, - Annexure I (33) - gives the FAO statistics of milk production and per capita availability of countries of the world. As per this table, the per capita availability of milk in 1997, as per this table, was only 205 grams per day in India, as compared to 8378 grams per day in New Zealand and 2312 grams in Denmark. As far as the per capita availability of milk goes, India stands 13th in the world, despite possessing about 15% of the world population of cattle. Obviously, the yield of milk in India is amongst the lowest in the world, which exhibits the hollowness of our claims of great success of the so-called “White Revolution”.
159. The different scenarios and perceptions have been discussed in the various Chapters in which the five Sub Committees have given their inputs. However, broadly speaking, we want to give a bird’s eye view of the entire perception in India and, if we go by the views and sentiments and feelings of a vast majority of the people of this country, it would be for total prohibition of slaughter of cow, as well as of its progeny.
160. In such a scenario, a political decision will have to be taken by the Government, where we follow the democratic tradition of going by the consensus, without hurting any of the religious feelings or fundamental rights of any one. The Apex Court has made it clear, time and again, judicially, that neither killing of a cow nor beef-eating is a mandatory or obligatory requirement for Islam. This view has been upheld in various judgements from the 1958 Mohammed Qureshi’s case to the 1996 judgement in the Hashmatulla case, so far, the latest one in the series.
161. The People of India, through various agitations, organizational activities, Satyagrahas, Anshans and representations signed by crores of people have repeatedly raise their voice and appealed to the Government to prohibit slaughter of cow and its progeny by a strong Central Law. The Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh made a signature campaign in 1952 all over the country demanding complete ban on slaughter of cow and its progeny. About 2 crore signatures, which were obtained during the campaign, were submitted to Mahamahim Rashtrapati Dr. Rajendra Prasad by Shri Madhav Rao, Sadashiv Rao Govalkar (Shri Guruji) (Sarsangh Chaiak) of R.S.S. Shri Narendra Dubey, belonging to the Sarvodaya Movement of Vinoba Bhave and Prof. Biharilal Tadia have provided a graphic account of all these agitations, which shows that the people are agitating for this continuously for more than a decade. Copies of the articles (in Hindi) of Prof. Biharilal Tadia, M.A., and Shri Narendra Dubey are enclosed and marked as Annexure I (34).
162. The composition of religious communities in our country as per the 1991 Census, shows that 82.4 per cent are Hindus, with 2 per cent Sikhs; 0.8 per cent Buddhists and 0.4 per cent Jains. As the Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists are all culturally akin to Hindus, it can be said that Hindus and like-minded people, constitute nearly 86 per cent of the population, with 11.7 per cent of Muslims and 2.3 per cent Christians.
163. The insignificant microscopic minority of beef eaters amongst Hindus is more or less equal to the insignificant minority amongst the Muslims, Christians, who are non beef eaters. Thus they virtually balance each other. Therefore, the figure of 86 crores of non beef-eaters and about 14 crores beef eaters in the country, makes India “PRO-COW” on the whole.
164. As mentioned above, from the Constituent Assembly Debates to the later statements of National Muslim leaders like Syed Rafi Ahmed Kidwai and others, the majority of Muslims who are in the main-stream do not oppose the prohibition on slaughter of cow and its progeny. The Constituent Assembly debate, in which the 2 Muslim Members Mr. Z.H. Lari and Syed Mohammad Saidulla were willing for cow slaughter prohibition to be kept as a Fundamental Right, is an eye-opener to all, and decisively shows that this issue should not be treated as a Hindu-Muslim issue or a majority versus minority issue.
165. The earlier Parliamentary debates, in which the Prime Minister vetoed the Resolution, which was going to be passed for the second time after the Constituent Assembly Debate, was followed by the third time, when it was passed on Dr. Ranjit Singh’s resolution. This was followed on the 4th occasion, by Shri Justice Guman Mal Lodha’s resolution, which was also passed in 1990 by electronic voting but was subsequently declared as ‘not-passed’, when voting by slips was resorted to. All this by clinching evidence shows that there is a consensus on legislation for prohibition of slaughter of cow and its progeny in INDIA.
166. With this, I would conclude my introductory remarks. Each of the subjects given in the terms of reference of the Commission have been examined in greater detail in separate chapters. These have been prepared on the basis of the data, information and suggestions furnished by the Government and the non-Government organizations, as well as by the members of the general public, either in their replies to the questionnaires or in the memorandum or representations given to the Commission at the public hearings or sent by post. Extensive references have also been made to various articles and books written on the subjects.
167. It is made clear that the Members of the Commission are of the unanimous view that the issues involved are not based on religions. All the communities, whether they are the Hindus, Muslims, Christians, etc., in one way or the other, whether directly or indirectly, are collectively responsible for cow slaughter and smuggling of cattle in this country. The Commission feels that, it is out of greed for money that many upper-class Hindus also indulge in large-scale smuggling of cattle for slaughter and for the leather business. Also, in order to project themselves as progressive, ultra-modern and/or secular many of them indulge in beef-eating. The extreme poverty and customary practices in the coastal areas and amongst some sections of Scheduled Tribes, Scheduled castes or Other Backward Classes, also make them beef-eaters. The Hindus, therefore, cannot escape from their responsibility and shift the blame for cow-slaughter to non-Hindus, amongst whom there are also people who abhor cow slaughter or beef eating.
168. We are proud of the fact that Smt. Gohar Aziz, a Muslim Lady and also a Member of the National Commission on Cattle is a great crusader against cow slaughter in Chennai in Tamil Nadu. On several occasions, she was physically manhandled by the butchers and the supporters when she tried, at grave risk to her own life, to save cows and calves from slaughter. During the tour of NCC, she saved about 16 cows, who were being butchered in spite of prohibitory laws to the contrary being in force. She was the person, who came and took the other Members of the Commission to the place where cows were about to be butchered for providing meat to the Zoo animals in the Bhubaneshwar Zoo. After our DHARNA of 2 hours or so, which was conducted at the risk of life, the Government and Police officials arrested the butcher and, after ensuring the release of 15 cows waiting to be slaughtered, sealed and closed the cow slaughter house. Similarly, there are several other Muslims, such as a couple in Mumbai, Shri Abrar Qureshi and his wife, Smt. Zinnat Abrar Qureshi, who are working tirelessly for the prevention of slaughter of cow and its progeny.
169. The Commission has decided to approach all issues objectively only. The earlier references to the castes, communities or religions of the cow slaughterers in various periods of the history of this country, whether it be the British era or Mughal empire etc., were only given with a view to tracing out the historical background for the record. Our approach would be additionally based on the “Acid tests” of Economic balance and viability also. We have attempted this approach in all our Committee reports, which in turn form the basis for the recommendations made in the various Chapters of this Report.
170. We do hope that the recommendations would be accepted and relied upon both by the executive and Legislative wings of this country, and, above all by the 100 crores of “WE THE PEOPLE OF INDIA” for the benefit of 20 crores of speechless and defenseless “Cow and its progeny” in this great Nation of ours.