Rajasthan HC wants cow to be declared national animal

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The Rajasthan High Court on Wednesday directed the state to coordinate with the Union government and take the steps required to declare the cow as a national animal.

The Rajasthan High Court also called for increasing punishment for cow slaughter to life imprisonment.

The court's view comes amid the protest, beef being held in several parts of the country over the Centre's notification banning the sale of cattle for slaughter at animal markets.

The recommendations were made by Rajasthan HC Chief Justice Mahesh Chand Sharma on the day before his retirement on Wednesday, May 31.

Rajasthan is the state where a Muslim man named Pehlu Khan was killed by "gau rakshaks" - self-styled cow vigilantes who act in the name of cow protection - while ferrying cattle along with some acquaintances.

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Senior JD (U) leader Neeraj Kumar said, "I appeal to the Centre that if they have so much love for cows then they should declare cow as the national animal".

The court said India was a predominantly agriculture-based country where animal husbandry played an important role.

The judge gave a ruling relating to the Hingoniya Gaushala of Jaipur. On Tuesday, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court had stayed the new cattle trade rules for a period of four weeks, while observing that it was an individual's right to choose his or her own food.

The decision from the court came amid protests across the country, after the Centre last week issued a controversial notification banning the sale of cattle for slaughter in animal markets. It has not banned cattle slaughter at all. The new cattle regulation was met with strong criticism as people in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal publicly protesting against it. Beef fests were organised by political outfits, where beef was cooked and distributed freely among locals.

"The Chief Minister has asked for report on Hingonia Gaushala".

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