Statement Of V.S.Chandralekha, State President Of Tamilnadu Virat Hindustam Sangam

TN Government must implement Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and Transport of Animal Rules

Millions of cattle are trafficked from Northern States to West Bengal, Bangladesh and Pakistan and from Southern States to Kerala, for meat and leather. Cattle (Cows, Bulls, Buffalos and Calves) are trafficked in millions from Tamil Nadu, Andhra, Telangana, Karnataka and Odisha to Kerala via Tamil Nadu.

It is an ugly fact that neither the Administration nor the Police take notice of this heavy trafficking being carried out by the Cattle Mafia. They take halfhearted action only when animal welfare organisations and animal activists approach them with their complaints. However, most of the times, the administration and police act only at the behest of Cattle mafia.

Then in most of the towns, those cattle traders, who buy cattle from shandys and sell them to mafias with a profit margin, treat the cattle cruelly without providing them food and water until the time the cattle mafia take them for transporting to Kerala. The government and the police do not bother to act against such traders. It happens in many towns.

This cattle trafficking has become a huge industry worth crores of money and this industry violates all the sections of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act at will. No state government bothers to implement this Act. All political parties which follow vote bank politics and show a scant regard to the welfare of cattle wealth, do not bother about this cattle trafficking industry.

In this kind of a scenario, Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) and other Animal Welfare Organisations take steps to rescue some of the cattle being trafficked and send them to Goshalas for protection. They also file complaints with the police and follow up with the court cases. However, with no active support from government machinery and police, they are unable to act against the cattle mafia beyond a certain limit.

As far as Tamil Nadu is concerned, Thirumurgan Transports and Selvaganapathi Transports are two significant transport companies, which indulge in heavy cattle trafficking with more than 500 trucks each. As these companies have lot of man power and money power, the animal welfare organisations and animal activists could not fight against them. Also, they are threatened by the cattle mafia.

With their financial strength and influence, they get back the rescued cattle. Unfortunately, the judges in the lower courts give orders to return the rescued cattle to the transport companies. And police also create records to facilitate such judgments.

The Madras High Court had unambiguously stated in its earlier orders that, “for no reasons the rescued cattle should be given back to the transporters and that the trucks used for trafficking cattle must be impounded and their licences must be cancelled”.

As per Rules 47 to 56 of the Transport of Animal Rules, 1978, no truck should carry more than 6 cattle; each and every cattle must be certified by a recognised Veterinary Doctor that they are fit to travel; food and water must be provided during the transportation; Invoice and other documents with the names of senders and receivers must be kept properly.

With all this in mind, Justice Karpaka Vinayakam delivering a judgment on 22 January 2002 on a case (Crl.R.C. No. 1534 of 2001) reiterated the above sections of the Transport of Animal Rules 1978 and ordered that, the rescued cattle must not be given back either to the transporters or to the sellers. He also stated that the protection of rescued cattle is the responsibility of the state government.

In 2012, Animal welfare activist Radha Rajan filed a writ petition (WP 14848 of 2012) at the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court praying that the High Court must order the concerned officials to strictly implement the Transport of Animal Rules, 1978. Admitting the petition, the HC Bench, ordered that the Police, State Government and the Animal Welfare Board of India must ensure strict implementation of Transport of Animal Rules. While delivering the judgment, the honourable Bench also cited the earlier Judgment delivered by Justice Karpaka Vinayakam in 2002.

Subsequently, in another case which came up for hearing the following month, Justice P.Rajendran, delivering a judgment on 14.03.2013, ordered that the animals must not be returned to the transporters and that the licences of the impounded truck must be cancelled.

Despite the ruling by two HC Judges and a HC Bench, cattle trafficking has been going on unabatedly due to the recklessness of the state which has shown scant regard to the rule of law and judgments of the courts.

However, animal welfare organisations and animal activists have been trying their level best to keep a watch on cattle trafficking and rescue as much cattle as possible from the traffickers. Virat Hindustan Sangam will hereafter support them in their noble endeavours.

Virat Hindustan Sangam expects the police and government to act fast in this regard thereby taking steps to implement the rules and regulations as laid down in Transport of Animal Rules 1978 and Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

Virat Hindustan Sangam warns the cattle traffickers and those who help them, to stop such illegal acts and also to stop threatening the animal welfare organisations and activists immediately.

Meanwhile, the Cattle Traders and Workers Welfare Sangam has announced that they would strike work from 19 June onwards for about 15 days, agitating against the animal welfare organisations and AWBI. Apart from announcing the strike immediately after Ramzan festival, the Cattle Traders and Workers Welfare Sangam has also attempted to communalise the issue. Virat Hindustan Sangam strongly condemns this attitude of the Cattle Traders. It is very wrong on the part of the Cattle Traders to act in support of the Cattle Traffickers in the name of “Livelihood”. Virat Hindustan Sangam demands the cattle traders to refrain from going in support of the illegal activities of cattle mafia and instead to continue their trade in accordance with the rule of law.

(V.S.CHANDRALEKHA)