UP is Primarily Using the National Security Act Against Those Accused of Cow Slaughter

Of 139 people booked under the law this year, 76 are for cow slaughter, 13 for anti-CAA protests and only 37 for heinous crimes.

New Delhi: Of the 139 people against whom the National Security Act (NSA) has invoked in Uttar Pradesh this year, more than half – 76 to be precise – have been booked in connection with alleged cow slaughter cases, a report by the Indian Express has shown. The most recent instance of such imposition of the draconian law was on September 6, when a man accused of involvement in cow slaughter was booked in Bahraich.

Though the NSA was legislated to provide the authorities with the power to detain a person without a charge for up to 12 months if they felt that he or she was a threat to national security or law and order, in Uttar Pradesh the controversial law has been used generously against those accused of cow slaughter.

A statement issued by additional chief secretary (home) Awanish Kumar Awasthi recently said that the UP Police has invoked the NSA against 139 people until August 19 this year. Out of these, 76 people were booked for cow slaughter. This apart, the list revealed that 13 arrests were of people who participated in anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests.

According to the Indian Express, Awasthi said: “Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath has directed that the NSA be slapped in case of crimes which may affect public order so that there is a feeling of fear among criminals and a feeling of safety among the public.”

However, the data revealed that only 37 people were booked under this law for heinous crimes. Also, the police invoked the NSA against only six people in connection with crimes against women and children while 20 people were booked for other offences.

According to the report, apart from invoking the NSA against 79 people suspected of cow slaughter this year, the Uttar Pradesh police has also arrested over 4,000 people in 1,716 cases registered under the Uttar Pradesh Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act as of August 26. Out of these, closure reports were filed in 32 cases by the police as they failed to gather evidence against the accused.

The state police, the report said, also invoked the UP Gangsters’ Act against 2,384 people for cow slaughter, while 1,742 people were booked under the Goonda Act.

Incidentally, the Bareilly zone under which Bahraich falls, is among those to record the highest number of arrests.

Its additional director general Avinash Chandra was quoted explaining the high numbers by saying, “We conducted a drive against people involved in cow slaughter, collecting information through intelligence.”

In Bareilly zone, the police have also opened history sheets against 282 people for cow slaughter, which is again the highest in the state. Entry into the history sheet results in constant monitoring of that person, even after his or her release from prison.

In a related development, five people were booked by the Mau administration on September 5 under the NSA. Among the arrested were AIMIM president Mohamad Asif alias Asif Chandan. All of them were already under arrest in connection with the anti-CAA protest in Dakshintola on December 16, 2019.