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Take urgent action against violence, stop cow vigilantism, Supreme Court tells Centre and states

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court directed the Centre and states on Wednesday to take stern action to curb cow vigilantes by ensuring they don't terrorise highways and sought the appointment of nodal officers in each district to coordinate measures against self-styled "gau rakshaks".

  •  The Centre and the states must take steps to stop cow vigilante groups from taking law into their hands: SC
  • It also asked each state to appoint a police officer in each district as a nodal officer to take action against cow vigilantism.
  • Top court asked the petitioners to also file a petition questioning the large scale animal slaughter during Eid

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra also directed the chief secretaries of every state government to file a status report giving details of the actions taken to prevent incidents of cow vigilantism.

The bench, also comprising Justices Amitava Roy and AM Khanwilkar, asked the Centre to respond to the submission that it (Central government) could issue directions under Article 256 of the Constitution to all state governments on issues related to law and order.

The apex court was hearing a PIL filed by Tushar Gandhi, great-grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, seeking various reliefs, including a direction to all the governments to take preventive measures against cow vigilantism.

Senior advocate Indira Jaising, appearing for Gandhi, referred to various incidents of lynching and assault on the pretext that the victims were either carrying or in possession of beef or had eaten it.

She also referred to an earlier statement of Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar that the Central government did not approve of such incidents of people taking law into their hands.

Besides Gandhi, Congress leader Tehseen Poonawalla had earlier filed a similar petition on the issue

Appearing for petitioner Tushar Gandhi, counsel Indira Jaising scythed through the NDA government's stand against violence perpetrated by cow vigilantism and said incidents have grown after the July 21 assurance of the Centre to the SC. "Haryana CM assuring the vigilante groups that FIRs against them will be withdrawn (sic). Immediately thereafter a person was killed in the state. So it is not a mere law and order situation."

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