The Supreme Court today asked the Centre and the states to take urgent steps to stop cow vigilantism. Coming down heavily on cow vigilantism, the SC has directed every state to constitute a task force to check such acts of violence.

The apex court had on April 7 sought the response of six states on a plea by activist Tehseen S Poonawalla, filed on October 21 last year, seeking action against cow vigilantes who were allegedly indulging in violence and committing atrocities against Dalits and minorities.

A bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and AM Khanwilkar issued the notices on a plea seeking a ban on cow vigilante groups in the six states.

During the last hearing on July 21, the Supreme Court asked the Centre and the states not to protect any kind of vigilantism and had sought their response on violent incidents in the garb of cow protection. It had posted the matter for September 6.

The plea by Poonawalla also alleged that these groups were committing atrocities against Dalits and minorities in the name of protecting cows and other bovines and they needed to be “regulated and banned in the interest of social harmony, public morality and law and order in the country”. 

The apex court said that both the Centre and the states must take steps to stop cow vigilante groups from taking the law into their hands or behave like law themselves.

However, they stopped the petitioners from politicizing the issue by saying they should also file petition questioning the large scale animal slaughter during Eid. Supreme Court also directed the DGP of states to ensure that highways are off bound for cow vigilante groups.

The SC has also asked each state to appoint a senior police officer in each district as nodal officer to take action against cow vigilantism.

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