Excerpt from an article published in The National, culled from various sources.
“Their dung blocks nuclear radiation, their milk makes children more obedient, touching them can lower blood pressure – just three reasons given for the introduction in Madhya Pradesh of the toughest penalties in India to protect the cow. A workshop this week also heard only people who coated their house with cow dung, a popular insulation, survived the 1984 gas leak that killed up to 25,000 in Bhopal, the state capital, the Indian Express reported.
Under the new law, which took effect last week, anyone convicted of cow slaughter or taking it interstate to be killed can be jailed for up to seven years. The law also empowers police to enter a home if they suspect a cow crime has been, is being or is likely to be, committed, raising fears it could be used to harrass minority Muslims.
The state government, led by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), insists the move is to protect the sanctity of the cow and fixes problems in an earlier law. Academics say it may be a cynical move to bolster support for the party and the chief minister, Shivraj Singh Chauhan, who also announced the government would spend almost US$100 million on a “mega-cow pen” to provide better conditions for young calves.
An article in The Hindu newspaper yesterday made a pointed comparison to the condition of people in Madhya Pradesh, which has the country’s highest rate of infant mortality and lowest rate of literacy.
“The religious feelings of people need to be respected and therefore saving the cow is one of the top priorities of the government,” Nagendra Singh, the state public welfare minister, told the paper.”