Cow killer deemed to rot in hell as many years as there are hairs upon his body: Allahabad HC

Court asks Central government to declare cow as protected national animal

March 05, 2023 09:42 am | Updated 12:45 pm IST - New Delhi

File photo of Allahabad High Court.

File photo of Allahabad High Court. | Photo Credit: PTI

“Anyone who kills cows or allows others to kill them is deemed to rot in hell as many years as there are hairs upon his body,” said a single-judge Bench of Justice Shamim Ahmed of Allahabad High Court in a judgment delivered while dismissing Mohammad Abdual Khaliq’s plea to get the case of cow slaughter lodged against him quashed.

“We are living in a secular country and must have respect for all religions and in Hinduism, the belief and faith is that cow is representative of divine and natural beneficence and should therefore be protected and venerated,” the court said.

It added that in the late 19th and 20th centuries, in India, a movement to protect cows arose that sought to unify the citizens by demanding that the Government of India ban cow slaughter immediately.

“This court hope[s] and trust[s] that the Central government may take appropriate decision to ban cow slaughtering in the country and to declare the same as ‘protected national animal’,” it added.

Also Read | Supreme Court refuses plea to direct govt to declare cow as national animal

The court maintained that from the perusal of the materials on record, looking into the facts of the present case and after considering the arguments made at the bar, it does not appear that no offence has been made out against the applicant.

While dismissing the plea filed by Mr. Khaliq in mid-February, the court maintained that the cow has also been associated with various deities, notably Lord Shiva (whose steed is Nandi, a bull) Lord Indra (closely associated with Kamadhenu, the wise-granting cow), Lord Krishna (a cowherd in his youth), and goddesses in general (because of the maternal attributes of many of them).

“….. cow is known as Kamadhenu, or the divine cow, and the giver of all desires. According to legend, she emerged from the ocean of milk at the time of Samudramanthan or the great churning of the ocean by the gods and demons,” the court order says.

It added that the cow’s legs symbolise four Vedas; her source of milk is four Purushartha (or objectives, i.e. dharma or righteousness, artha or material wealth, kama or desire and moksha or salvation); her horns symbolise the gods, her face the sun and moon, and her shoulders agni or the god of fire. She has also been described in other forms: Nanda, Sunanda, Surabhi, Susheela and Sumana.

The court also maintained that the origin of the veneration of the cow could be traced to the Vedic period (2nd-millennium 7th century BCE).

“The Indo-European peoples who entered India in the 2nd millennium BCE were 7 pastoralists; cattle had major economic significance that was reflected in their religion. The slaughter of milk-producing cows was increasingly prohibited. It is forbidden in parts of the Mahabharata, the great Sanskrit epic, and in the religious and ethical code known as the Manu-Smirti (Tradition of Manu), and the milk cow was already in the Rigveda said to be “unslayable”,” the court said.

It added that the degree of veneration afforded the cow is indicated by the use in rites of healing purification, and penance of the panchagavya, the five products of the cow — milk, curd, butter, urine and dung.

The court added that with the rise of the ideal of ahimsa (non injury), the absence of the desire to harm living creatures, the cow came to symbolise a life of nonviolent generosity. In addition, because her products supplied nourishment, the cow was associated with motherhood and Mother Earth and legislation against cow killing persisted into the 20th century in many princely states.

In the Mahabharata, Bhishma (grandfather of the leaders of warring factions) observes that the cow acts as a surrogate mother by providing milk to human beings for a lifetime, so she is truly the mother of the world. The puranas state that nothing is more religious than the gift of cows. Lord Rama was given a gift of many cows, the order reads.

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