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Holy Cow!!

Nepal is notorious for its slow legal procedure, often taking years to decide even a minor case. But half a year ago, on April 3rd, acting with astonishing speed, a verdict was passed within two weeks against a 50 year old woman of Tibetian origin sentencing her to 12 years in prision. Her crime – cow slaughter. Evidence – some beef sukuti found in her house. The story of Kripa Bhoteni was well publicized in the international media, though it failed to attract much attention in Nepal. Neither the authorities nor the human rights activists did anything. It seems we are more interested in implementing the law than understanding the injustices in the law itself.

Several important issues in the case not withstanding (she could have imported the beef from Tibet; it was a yak calf she killed, as she claims, and that is perfectly legal), the very fact that bovine life can be equated with 12 years of human is ludicrous in itself. And more so now when we have declared the secularity of Nepal. Will we stay a secular nation only on paper, all other laws being as they are? Does criminalizing cow slaughter not contradict with the new declaration of secularism (which also says all laws that contradict the new declarations are void and null)?

Over the past years, several indigenous people have been convicted of cow slaughter, mostly, activists argue, due to personal vendetta. Find a carcass and convict your enemy – as easy as that. Furthermore, many indigenous cultures have traditionally consumed beef as a part of their diet. All convicted are mostly economically underprivileged and socially marginalized people. If you are rich, you can get away with it. Even in Kathmandu, there are numerous steak houses, and I assure you, it isn’t only Yak where the meat comes from. Cow slaughter has been a means to subjugate the indigenous population.

What’s more – indigenous communities are hopelessly underrepresented in the judicial sector. Also, forced to communicate in a language they cannot speak in courts, there was once even a case where a simple confusion between the word ‘mareko’ (to die) and ‘maareko’ (to kill) led to a conviction (Shom Lal Tamang vs. HMG).

It is time we think what it really means to be secular. Are we ready to redefine laws? Are our politicians ready to risk their predominantly Hindu constituencies by representing what is just? Or will we have to rely on another righteous lawyer to take the issue to the Supreme Court? I am reminded of Jawaharlal Nehru who said that he would much rather resign from his post as the prime minister than criminalize cow slaughter no matter how widespread the sentiment for it.

28 thoughts on “Holy Cow!!

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  15. Very less real Hindus left to say that the cow protection rule should still exist but Cultural issue of Neapl as it is, how many strictly follow culture to protect any animal on earth is a great question. Everybody must be Vegan not Omnivorus. No animal or human beinng or not a single plant is to be killed destroyed because people need to eat food to live. So no meat and no plants can be eaten by anybody in that sense of protection law in new world order. Even water is not allowed because many germs inside it are dead in mineral water and we must not kill anything even germs and viruses coz they have right to live. Radical ties and thinking abt protecting mother nature. Tigers cannot hunt deers.Goats cannot graze on grass because it violates the rights of hunted beings whatever they are.

  16. Well you do not want to allow Nepalese killing cows as you are Hindu just like Muslims do not want to allow killing pigs. Thing is that simple and argument should have stopped there. Animal right do not fit here, that sounds stupid. Thousand of animals are killed during the Hindu festival Dashain and other occasion.

    FYI human also drink milk of other animals. So cows are not so special mother.

  17. In America and many European countires, it is illegal to kill a dog because dog is a pet. In Korea, it is a delicious dish.
    Cultures are different. To criticize Nepal or Hindus for not allowing the cow to be killed is not only against religion but also against animal rights.
    And, I would suggest the author of this article to dare criticise Muslims for not allowing pigs to be eaten, alcohol to be sold or consumed, food to be eaten in public during Ramadan and many more things. The author should have guts to do that.

    Mr author, do you have the guts to say a word to the Islamic countries? you know the consequences, right?

    You drink your mother’s milk for 1-2 years at the most, but you drink the cow’s milk for the rest of your life. That is why cow is a symbolical mother, a way to pay back the thing you take from the animal. It is a form of practicing non-violence and benevolence. I hope it makes sense to you.

    So, learn to respect people’s cultures.

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