The observations of a high court judge in calling for the cow to be declared India’s national animal have evoked mixed reactions from social activists.
Justice Shekhar Kumar Yadav of Allahabad High Court in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh made the observations on September 1 while denying bail to Javed, a Muslim man accused in a cow slaughter case.
Fifty-nine-year-old Javed was jailed in March for slaughtering a cow but his lawyer told the court that his client had been implicated in a false case.
“All circumstances must be considered and the cow should be declared as a national animal and cow protection should be made the fundamental right of Hindus,” the judge is reported to have said. Human rights activist A.C. Michael told that there is nothing wrong in declaring the cow as a national animal. “In fact, it should be whole- heartedly welcomed. The government of the day should immediately imple-ment the law to protect the cow.”
Michael, a former member of Delhi Minorities Commission, said Indians do worship the cow and depended on it for agri-culture and allied economic activities. The judge seemed neutral in his observations but the judiciary must also recognize the rights of those consuming beef.
“The law must not be misused by cow protection activists or private cowsheds built to show off and doing little to protect the cow, as the judge himself observed,” the Christian lay leader said.
Justice Yadav had said that the cow is known as the mother in the country and is worshipped as a goddess. “Cows give milk, which is needed for a strong and healthy constitution. It gives cow dung for fertilizers and urine that kills germs … It produces calf and oxen, which help in agriculture when they grow up,” he said.