Long before Adityanath, a Congress CM banned cow slaughter in UP against Nehru's wishes

Much before the BJP made cow slaughter its poll cry, a Congress chief minister outlawed cow slaughter in Uttar Pradesh, going against even then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's wishes.

Slaughterhouses in Uttar Pradesh are in panic after Yogi Adityanath took oath as the Chief Minister and declared that his government would take strict action against illegal abattoirs.

Lucknow's famous Tunday Kabab was shut down briefly. Meat sellers went on strike today in Uttar Pradesh.

And, Uttar Pradesh chief secretary issued instructions to senior officials of all the 75 districts to ensure total ban on cow slaughter, asking them to take action against illegal slaughterhouses.

Yogi Adityanath has been associated with the save the cow campaign for years. But, much before the BJP made cow slaughter its poll cry, a Congress chief minister outlawed cow slaughter in Uttar Pradesh.

He was Dr Sarvsri Sampurnanad.

WHO WAS SAMPURNAND?

Dr Sampurnand holds the distinction of being the longest serving Congress chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, where he headed the government for almost six years between 1954 and 1960, over two terms.

Sarvsri Sampurnanand originally hailed from Varanasi, the present parliamentary constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Christopher Jeffrelot writes in his book on cow slaughter titled, The Hindu Nationalist Movement and Indian Politics: 1925 to the 1990s, that Sampurnanand was 'a veteran of the school of (Madan Mohan) Malaviya and (Purushottam Das) Tandon'. Incidentally, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also invokes Malaviya whenever he visits Varanasi.

Jeffrelot credits Sampurnanand with the 'renewal of the Hindu Mahasabha in 1922 before being seduced by socialism'.

Sampurnanand was a Sanskrit scholar with a penchant for Vedic philosophy and teaching - much like the present UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. Nehru had chosen him to replace Govind Ballabh Pant as the Uttar Pradesh chief minister.

COW SLAUGHTER BAN

Sampurnanand was the Chief Minister who brought a law to ban cow slaughter in Uttar Pradesh in 1955 much against the wishes of the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

Sampurnanand implemented the recommendation of two committees - the UP Committee in 1948 and the Nanda Committee in 1954.

Rejecting Pt Nehru's objection, the Sampunanand "government announced before a jubilant Vidhan Sabha the outlawing of cow slaughter, as it was authorised to do under the Constitution," writes Jeffrelot.

In 1955, the UP Assembly enacted the UP Cow Slaughter Prohibition Act.

Pandit Nehru described the decision as a 'wrong step'.

SAMPURNANAND VS NEHRU

Nehru's opposition to a ban on cow slaughter was known to all Congress leaders including Sampurnanand.

Nehru had already had a tussle with the then President Dr Rajendra Prasad on the issue.

When President Prasad wanted to push Nehru to bring a Bill in Parliament for banning cow slaughter across the country, much in accordance with the wishes of Mahatma Gandhi, he had refused to oblige.

In Nehru's view, the issue of cow slaughter was 'unimportant and reactionary'.

Just before the UP Assembly passed the law, Nehru had threatened to quit as the Prime Minister if the Bill banning cow slaughter was passed by Parliament.

Still, Sampurnanand went ahead and brought a law declaring cow slaughter illegal in Uttar Pradesh, the state which sent Nehru to the Lok Sabha.

THE COW SLAUGHTER LAW

However, the original law made an exception to allow stocking and sale of beef in closed cans at airports and railway stations to be served to foreigners.

The present law prohibits slaughter of cows including heifers and calves. Sale of beef is also banned in Uttar Pradesh. The Law defines beef as meat of cow, bull or bullock whose slaughter is prohibited.

Buffaloes can be killed in Uttar Pradesh. Cow slaughter is punishable with a seven-year jail term or a fine of Rs 10,00 or both.

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