‘Gauraksha Police Chowki’! Zipping by in a bus as a media person accompanying a fact finding delegation to Rajasthan to look into the lynchings by cow mobs, I could not believe MY eyes. A police chowki–just one step below a full fledged police station—set up for cow protection, or for that matter animal protection, in India seemed to be a joke. But no, it was not. It was for real.
We immediately stopped the bus to take pictures and spent part of the visit to Bharatpur, Alwar, Rajsamand and Udaipur in finding out what this was exactly about. Raesa, a member of the Communist Party of India from Alwar, had immediate information. “These police chowkis were set up by the Rajasthan government in Alwar and Bharatpur allegedly to control cow smuggling,” she said adding that there were 12 such cop stations in the state where some of the worst mob violence under the ‘cow protection’ banner has taken place. The police has failed to control the brutal violence against human lives in the name of cow smuggling.
My first question, thus to Rajan Vishal,District Collector and Rahul Prakash,Superintendent of police in Alwar was about the existence of Gauraksha police stations, completely unheard of. Police stations are named after the districts, not for specific tasks that come under the larger purview of the law anyway.
Vishal replied,“ The prevention of cruelty to Animals Act was revised in 2017 by the central government in order to regulate the animal markets and curb trans-border smuggling of cattle. As per the notification no one can bring cattle to an animal market unless he or she has furnished a written declaration that cattle will not be sold for the purpose of slaughter.”
Almost confirming allegations made by rights activists about official police involvement, he said that these police chowki’s were established to keep a check on the vehicles crossing border areas “to Firozpur,Jirka and Nuh(Haryana) for cow slaughtering and smuggling purposes.’’