Param Pujaniya Atalji,
Sub-Group VII (on Cattle and Buffaloes) of the Working Group on Animal Husbandry and Dairying, which was set up by the Planning Commission for the Tenth Five Year Plan proposals, had during discussions at one of the meetings of the Working Group, observed that “no breeding programme would succeed in this country, unless it was tied up with removal of the inferior genotypes from the population”. Quoting Dr. Bhattacharya from the National Commission on Agriculture, the Chairman of the Working Group observed that the most humane way of removal is through slaughter. Dr. S.K.Ranjan opined that the ban on cow slaughter should be removed from the States where it was in vogue. It was also observed that the Meat Industry in India should be allowed to grow as a major export thrust increasing the productivity of cow by removing the surplus poor quality animals from the population.
Another Sub-Group of the same Working Group, Group XI on Meat Sector, has recommended the establishment of Rural Based Abattoirs in animal tracts. This would, no doubt, result in every small village of Gandhi Gram Swaraj concept, greeting visitors with two sign boards one “Sasta Sarkari Sharab ki Dukan” and the other “Sasta Sarkari Mans Murga Mussalam and Gomans Ki Dukan”.
Inspite of the above Himalayan hurdles, I am very grateful to the Hon’ble Prime Minister for feeling greatly concerned about the widespread and persistent demand for protection and preservation of cow and its progeny, as well as about the precious health of His Holiness Jagadguru Sankaracharyaji of Kancheepuram, who, deeply moved by the tragic plight of sacred cows, the slaughter of thousands having been observed by him during his Kerala visit, announced a fast unto death, unless something was done by the Government to save the cow. As the “D” day of 5th August 2001, the birth day of Swamiji from which he was to commence the fast drew near, the Government established the Commission on 2nd August, 2001 and honoured the understanding.
The 17 Member Commission was headed by Shri Dharampal, Gandhian and Historian from Sevagram, who on account of various reasons, asked me, the Vice Chairman to discharge the day-to-day responsibilities of the Chairman, during his absence from Delhi and to function as Acting Chairman, which responsibility I gladly accepted.
A dedicated team of committed social workers, including the former Chief Justice Ranganath Mishra, Shri Bhawarlal Kothari, Shri Kesarichand Mehta, Shri Sunil B. Mansinghka, Shri K.L. Godha, all Conveners of the five sub-Committees set up by the Commission, as well as other stalwarts in the areas of cow-protection such as, Shri Hukum Chand Sawla, Shri Manchand Gunde Rao, Shri Master Munshi Singh, Shri P. Haridas, Shri Udai Bhaskar Nair, Smt. Gohar Aziz and H.H. Jagadguru Sri Sri Balagangadharanatha Mahaswamiji have helped tremendously in the preparation of the Report of the Commission. It is noted with a profound sense of satisfaction that we have been successful in keeping as sacrosanct, the 1 year period of tenure of the Commission and have prepared the Report within a record time, as we were determined not to seek or accept any extension.
The Commission has taken full advantage of the experience, knowledge, study and above all, brilliant approach with mature thinking of the above Members, who are all dedicated cow worshippers. They have, in turn, also utilized the services of consultants in the different disciplines and subject areas of our terms of reference.
This Report is a joint venture and result of the thinking and decisions taken after a hectic but elaborate and extensive tour of all the States and interacting with people in public hearings. We have examined Govt. officers, records and examined them also in all State capitals. In addition, the replies to the questionnaires, widely issued on subjects concerning the terms of reference, have provided valuable data and views of a cross-section of members of the public as well as Government officers. We have benefited from a reading of the various reports of earlier Expert Committees, including the ones headed by Sardar Datar Singh and Shri Nanda respectively, as well as other committees on the various aspects of cow preservation, protection, development and slaughter and several Gosamvardhan Committees and Commissions of Government including the one headed by Shriman Narayan.
The non-availability of the report of the most important Committee has deprived us of valuable guidance. The said Committee was appointed on 29.6.1967 and had as Members, several stalwarts and renowned Saints, including Jagadguru Sri Shankaracharya Swami Niranjandev Teerth of Puri, R.S.S Chief Guruji Shri M.S. Golwalkar, Shri Charan Singh, Shri D.P. Mishra (both Chief Ministers), Shri Rama Prasad Mukherji, ex- Judge and the Animal Husbandry and Agriculture Ministers of almost all the States, with A.K. Sarkar, former Chief Justice of India as the Chairman. Either no report was given or the then Government shelved and concealed it. In reply to a question put by you, jointly with other Members, Parliament was informed on 4.12.1969 that the tenure of the Committee was extended 5 times and that, till date, the Committee had had 12 sittings, had examined 53 persons and had accepted 135 memoranda and had obtained replies to its questionnaires from all the States and the Centre. However, due to withdrawal of its Members by the All-party Goraksha Maha-abhiyan Samiti the Committee could not complete its work. The Committee was established in pursuance of the historical Cow Protection March of Delhi of 7th November, 1966 the firing on which led to the massacre of a number of saints and sages.
We were faced with various constraints of ministry and bureaucracy, who could not provide even proper office to the Chairman and to the Acting Chairman, with the result that the preparation has been done at the residence-cum-office of the Chairman, Animal Welfare Board of India, who is also the Vice Chairman and Acting Chairman of the Commission.
We are happy that we have been able to have a comprehensive study of the cattle wealth of India, its reverence and respect from Vedic age, its massacre in British Government’s period, preceded by earlier invasion of Muslim and Mughal Emperors. Of course, the worst suffering it is having is after our Independence, as the partial laws of prohibition are mostly contained on the statute books, decorating the libraries and are being used more in violation than in enforcement.
We are constrained and deeply hurt to note that even in the State Capitals, under the very noses of the Chief Ministers, Secretaries and the Director Generals of Police, slaughter and massacre of even cow and calf, which is prohibited in almost all the States, except Kerala, takes place almost every day in suburbs, busy localities and townships, not to talk of villages. In Bhuvaneshwar, daily slaughter of cow and its progeny is taking place for providing beef to the zoo animals, as the Commission found, after rushing to the spot and catching the culprits red-handed.
But whether it is Cuttack or Patna, Ranchi or Kolkatta, Mumbai or Bangalore or Jaipur, Government’s inability to stop the cow slaughter with iron hands continues, and the excuse given is that it is a social problem to be abetted and tolerated shamelessly for years together. The various State Governments have admitted their inability to stop the coming up of large numbers of illegal slaughter houses and their similar inability to stop the mass smuggling of cattle to Bangladesh and Kerala, from the States of U.P., Haryana, Rajasthan and M.P. in the North and A.P., Karnataka and Tamil Nadu in the South. This admission should put the present Central Government on red alert. In Mewat, daily slaughter of thousands of cows are going on with the Governments of Rajasthan, Haryana and U.P., all turning a blind eye to it, presumably due to being soft towards Mews. Even the British Government in 1944 prohibited its Military from killing milking cows and calves up to three years and males up to 10 years of age, but in the Deonar Slaughter House in Mumbai, the Maharashtra Government officials accepted that they treat a cattle as a calf only up to the age of one year. What a pity!
The mass slaughter of 2 lakh cows every year on the occasion of Bakrid in Calcutta alone, in spite of Supreme Court directions of 1994 in Bakrid case (AIR – 1995 S.C. 464 – Ashutosh Lahiri & Others Vs. State of West Bengal) prohibiting exemption, even on religious grounds, from provisions of the law banning cow slaughter, is a challenge to the authorities in New Delhi, both political and judicial. The Government of West Bengal became an abettor, by protecting cow slaughterers and arresting protestors such as Shri Jhumarlal Tawri and his group, thus creating a protective umbrella for the slaughterers and the Central Government remained a silent spectator. This phenomenon created cause for serious concern for all Members of the Commission.
The Commission felt more disturbed because a similar judgment of the Supreme Court, in respect of a dispute in U.P. about the religious place of Ayodhya, was enforced by both the U.P. State Government, as well as the Central Government. The Centre used not only police force, but also deputed para-military forces in big numbers at Ayodhya but the judgment of the Supreme Court in the Bakrid cow sacrifice prohibition case, was allowed to be thrown in the waste paper basket of the Writers Building in Calcutta. The mighty forces of the Central Government, to whom petitions were sent from various parts of India to ensure protection of about 2 lakh cows in Calcutta on Bakrid sacrifice, just remained in their barracks, which amounted to scrapping of Article 14, by discriminating between two judgements of Supreme Court during the same period and on same religious sensitive issues of Ram Janma Bhumi and massacre of Lord Krishna’s cows.
The Commission, after the entire historical survey and thorough study of Constitutional developments, has come to the conclusion that, unless protection of cow and its progeny is introduced as a Constitutional right and the Central Legislation is enacted, to enforce it with a Central Rapid Cattle Protection Police Force, such as the CRPF and BSF, which should be constituted, piecemeal laws of some States would never be able to contain the cow slaughter menace in India.
The Commission feels that now, with the advent of cow dung and cow urine revolution for its utilization in organic manure and medicines, no cattle, howsoever ill, dry or infirm, is uneconomic and all cattle are economically viable and self reliant and not a burden. The killing under the “Animal Husbandry Department” mischievous camouflage of “CULLING” should stop.
We have listed about 51 major recommendations, with many more minor recommendations of Sub Committees. We have also requested for acceptance of the recommendations of the report of “Task Force on Organic Farming”, Dept. of Agriculture and Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture, Govt. of India – November, 2001 presented by Mr. Kuwarji Bhai Jadhav.
May I point out that all the voluminous reports are secondary to the clarion call made to the then Prime Minister on September 21, 1966 by your ‘DEFACTO’ Mentor (as the ‘DEJURE’ Mentors were Pandit Deendayalji and Pujniya Guruji of RSS) and first Janta Government architect, Samgra Kranti Architect, the tallest freedom fighter Pujniya Jayaprakash Narayan, who wrote thus: “ I cannot understand why in a Hindu-majority country like India, where rightly or wrongly there is such strong feeling about cow slaughter, there cannot be a legal ban. In all the Muslim countries, even those who are considered to be most modern, I doubt if pork would be allowed to be sold, or served in public places. I think the same would be true for Israel. Likewise, in some Christian countries on certain days of the year no meat is eaten or sold.”
Similarly, in his ‘Farman’ in support of compassion to animals, the great Mughal Emperor Akbar said “In reality, the fact is that when Allah (God-Ishwar) has created several nice eatables for human beings, then we should not be cruel to animals and should not convert our stomachs into grave yards for animals.
We are submitting this Report in the record time of one year, as we are keen that under the Prime Ministership of Hon’ble Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayeeji, assisted by Deputy Prime Minister Hon’ble Shri Lal Krishna Advaniji and the present Members of the Parliament, this report should be accepted, in toto. Let there be follow-up for implementation by Legislative and executive action soon, as cattle slaughter is a continuing offence and a black spot on our faces.
We are grateful to all consultants, scientists, social workers, educationalists and authors, who have helped us in preparation of this Report and to whose books we have made references.
Commissions normally never get back the ATRs or action taken reports. However, “we the people of India who have taken to us our sacred Constitution” never forget the inaction or lapses, whether it is the non-implementation of the Report of the Committee headed by Sardar Datar Singh, recommending total prohibition on cow-slaughter or the mockery meted out to the 1967 Committee having Guruji and Shankaracharyaji of Puri as Members. A few people can forget but posterity and history would enforce accountability.
We hope that Atalji would, by respecting “GOMATA” and accepting this Report, write his name and that of his Government in golden letters in the history of this country, like “Ashoka the Great” and “Akbar the Great”, both of whom embodied “Ahimsa”, especially cow slaughter prohibition, under Buddhist and Jain influence of “Non-violence”. The great Mahatma Gandhi & Acharya Vinobaji only echoed these concepts and expressed concern for the speechless cow.
Would Atalji – the Great – still in making, with Advaniji – a Sardar Patel pattern, with George, Joshi and other firm supporters of cow protection, be able to take up the cause of cow protection? This is the billion-dollar question, the answer to which can be judged by ATR and posterity only.
(JUSTICE GUMAN MAL LODHA)
Acting Chairman, National Commission on Cattle.
Place: New Delhi
Date : 28.07.2002