Bombay High Court asks cops to be on their toes for Eid cow vigilantism

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Monday clarified that it would not be framing any rules or guidelines to prohibit cow vigilantes (Gaurakshaks). However, the HC has asked the Maharashtra government to file a detailed affidavit spelling out the ‘preventive measures’ it proposes to undertake to avoid incidents of lynching, ahead of Bakri Eid.

A division bench of Justice Bhushan Gavai and Justice Makarand Karnik heard a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Shadaab Patel, a businessman. The PIL seeks a direction to the government and the State police to ensure safety of citizens, especially who are in business of cattle trade. The PIL cited the example of lynching incident like that of Akhlaq in Uttar Pradesh and Junaid Khan in Delhi, and sought a 24-hour helpline number.

Pursuant to the earlier orders, public prosecutor Jayesh Yagnik informed the judges that there has not been a single incident of lynching in Mumbai. He also apprised the judges that there are a total of five ‘sansthas’ (organisations) of cow vigilantes, which are registered and that the city police have all their necessary details. He also said that there is a dedicated 24-hour helpline number for citizens.

After hearing the submission, Justice Gavai said, “The responsibility to maintain law and order is of the police and the government. All that we want is maintenance of law and order in the State. We want you to place on record the preventive measures you would be undertaking to ensure such (lynching) incidents do not occur.” The matter would be next heard on Wednesday.

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