How to enforce a beef ban? Indian police ask cattle owners to submit photos of their cows

Criminals aren't the only ones with mugshots. In a city in India, cows have mugshots too.

Cattle owners in Malegaon have been asked to submit photographs of their animals and a dossier on them to the police, an officer said on Wednesday (April 1).

The reason behind it? To help authorities enforce the Maharashtra state government's tough new ban on beef.

So far, nearly 100 farmers and other owners have complied with the request, said Mr Sunil Kadasne, additional superintendent of the city.

"After the new law, commercial slaughter has largely stopped, but this programme will help us to stop all killing by helping trace any animal thefts faster," he told AFP.

Defuse possible tensions in community

The state government introduced the ban on the killing and selling of cows last month. 

Even the possession of beef is a crime, with a jail term of up to five years.

Two people were arrested last week after police raided a shack and found two heads of slaughtered calves and 150 kg of beef, reported The Times Of India. The arrests were the first made under the new law.

A third person involved in the crime is on the run.

Cows in Hindu-majority India are considered sacred and several other states also ban their slaughter.

Mr Kadasne said the request for information on cows, which includes supplying purchase records and reasons for ownership, were also aimed at defusing possible tensions between Muslims and Hindus in the area, which has a history of communal violence.

"Once we get most of the cattle recorded, it will be easy to squash complaints looking to create communal mischief," Mr Kadasne said.

Source: AFP