Online Classes :- Current Affairs Part-3

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Justice for Ansari: Fast-track all lynching cases, restore a sense of safety to India’s vast cattle economy

Nearly 30 months after a barbarous trend was set off by the lynching of Mohammed Akhlaq in Uttar Pradesh’s Dadri, over rumours of his family having consumed beef, an Indian court has awarded its first conviction in a “gau raksha” murder. In holding 11 men guilty of lynching meat trader Alimuddin Ansari the Jharkhand court has also done justice to its “fast-track” prefix, by delivering a verdict within nine months. The convicts include a local BJP leader and gau raksha samiti members. Their conviction is proof that the criminal justice delivery system can deliver results in quick time. This should not be the exception but the norm.

Jharkhand itself has recorded two other incidents of cattle traders being lynched in 2016 and 2017 but similar progress has eluded those cases. As for the Akhlaq case, although it too is being heard in a fast-track court, even charges are yet to be framed. In the Junaid Khan murder, the trial judge objected to a senior Haryana government law officer allegedly helping the accused. In Rajasthan, the Pehlu Khan case has seen the police giving a clean chit to some of the accused while slapping charges of cattle smuggling against Khan’s companions.

The spread of cow vigilantism across several north Indian states is in no small part because the administration of justice has been so laggard. Even as vigilante violence has gone unpunished its threats have put lives, livelihood and economic progress at stake. A climate of fear has descended upon the entire chain of farmers, cattle traders, butchers, transporters and meat exporters. Particularly for farmers struggling with low returns from agriculture, the stalled cattle trade has dealt a crushing blow.

Meanwhile, the Centre’s May 2017 rules that banned cattle sale for slaughter at cattle markets dovetailed perfectly with the coercive practices of non-state actors. Those rules are reportedly being revised now, and this process too should be expedited just like lynching cases should be fast-tracked. Failure to uphold law and order combined with totalitarian laws seriously undermines the state’s credibility. In any case no single ideology, belief system or food habit should impose its writ all across a country as diverse as India. As BJP’s bypoll defeat in Alwar – the epicentre of gau raksha violence in Rajasthan – indicates, even the political gains begin receding after a while.

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