Swamy wants death penalty for cow slaughter

After Ram temple, controversial BJP MP Subramanian Swamy has taken up another pet Hindutva theme of cow protection and now wants death penalty for those slaughtering the animal.

Swamy will introduce a private member’s bill, The Cow Protection Bill 2017, in Rajya Sabha on Friday, insisting the need for a law to ban the slaughter of all cows “as wished by Mahatma Gandhi and an imperative for free independent India”.

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The bill intends to create a National Cow Protection Authority to ensure stabilisation of population of cows. The Authority should suggest measures to comply with Articles 37 and Article 48 of the Constitution to ban the slaughter of cows and to provide for deterrent punishment, including death penalty, for slaughter of cow.

The Authority, which is headed by Secretary of Department of Animal Husbandry and have five persons of eminence in the fields of agricultural economics, animal welfare and ancient Indian history or culture as members, should ndertake a baseline study to collect data about cow population and to formulate a Qualitative Cow Dignity Index.

The Article 37 says the provisions in Directive Princiles would not be enforced by the court but these are nevertheless fundamental in the governance of the country and would be the duty of the State to apply these principles. The Article 48 recommends prohibition of slaughter of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle.

Swamy wants this provision on cow slaughter be implemented by enacting a law covering the whole country. The reports and suspicion about slaughter of cow and beef eating have resulted in violence in some parts of the country and snowballed into a controversy with Dalits and Muslims feeling the heat.

The Bill defines cow protection as a total ban in any form of injury of slaugter or enforced starvation of the breed of Indian cow. It wants the Authority to formulate schemes to provide for healthy cows and calves and recommend to the central government, deterrent penalties including death penalty to who commit offences against cows.

It should also frame syallabus for awareness about importance of cow protection and development all over the country as well as conduct awareness campaigns about medical imperatives for improving health of cows and calves.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Mar 24, 2017)

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Fire stations needed: 8,559 In place: 2,987

Fire accidents may be devouring our homes but India does not have enough fire stations to fight it out even in urban areas.

There is a need for at least 8,559 fire stations across the country but in position is just 2,987, leaving a deficiency of 65.10%.

The situation in urban areas is the worse compared to rural areas as a government-sponsored study showed that there is a need to set up 5,572 more fire stations. Of this, 4,257 are to be set up in urban areas.

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The Ministry of Home Affairs had engaged Risk Management Solutions Inc (RMSI) to assess the requirement of fire stations in the country, whose report indicated the shortage of fire stations in the country. The details were presented in Lok Sabha recently.

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State Fire Stations Needed Fire Stations At Present
Maharashtra

Rajasthan

1,075

874

157

126

 

 

Uttar Pradesh 706 237
Bihar 650 102
Andhra Pradesh 582 251
Karnataka 377 182
ALL INDIA 8,599 2,987

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The study showed that Maharashtra, which has reported the highest number of fire accidents in the country, needs the highest number of fire stations. Incidentally, it also has the highest gap between the number of existing facilities and actually needed.

The state has only 157 fire stations, while it needs at least 1,075 such facilities across the state. Of the 917 more fire stations needed, the study has found out that 666 should be set up in urban areas.

An analysis of the figures provided by the RMSI showed that almost all the states do not have even half of the required number of fire stations, which keeps the existing fire fighters on their toes.

Rajasthan needs 874 fire stations but has only 126 while Uttar Pradesh has 237 facilities but need another 469 for smooth fire fighting operations.

Karnataka needs 377 fire stations while only 182 are in place. There is a deficiency of 195 fire stations out of which 132 are needed in urban areas.

As per the latest government figures, India witnessed 18,450 cases of fire accidents in 2015 causing 17,700 deaths and injuries to 1,193 persons. In 2014, there were 20,377 incidents. The cause-wise analysis of fire accidents showed that 42.1% of total deaths (7,445 out of 17,700) were due to fire accidents in residential buildings during 2015.

A senior official told DH that fire incidents are very serious and it result in lot of damage to infrastructure and cause monetary loss. Fire service is a municipal function and state governments need to take a pro-active role in handling such issues.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Mar 24, 2017)

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