Beef Biryani[/caption] The definition of ‘cow’ includes bull, bullock, ox, heifer or calf, as well as a disabled, diseased or a barren cow. ‘Beef’ means the flesh of the ‘cow’ in any form — including flesh that is packed in sealed containers, and which has been imported into the state. It also provided that any police officer above the rank of Sub Inspector, or any person authorised by the government, may enter, stop and search any vehicle used or intended to be used for the export of cows. The officer can also enter and search any premises used or intended to be used for slaughter. However, these provisions were not applicable for anyone suspected of selling cooked beef but the over enthusiastic Gau Sewa Aayog was taking along police personnel to seal samples of Biryani and send these for testing. The samples were sent to a laboratory which was granted sanction for testing samples for beef only a week ago. The laboratory has been set up at Lala Lajpat Rai University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences in Hisar. Its vice-chancellor Major Gen Shrikant (retd) has also ready claimed that six samples have tested for beef although no formal report has yet been given to the government for registration of a case. Even though the legal validity of samples taken and tests conducted is in doubt, some of the experts say that it is difficult to distinguish between beef and some other kinds of meat and that it was even more difficult to do so for cooked meat. The issues came to limelight when a social activist Shehnaz Poonawalla filed a petition with the National Commission for Minorities against the Aayog. Opposition political parties too criticised the action of the government. Former Haryana chief minister and Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda said that the BJP government was trying to “create disturbance in the name of beef policing”. As the tension mounted, the Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar stepped in. Although there are no official release or statement, an unnamed senior official of the Chief Minister’s Office was quoted by several newspapers to claim that Khattar was upset with the way the Aayog had been going about in collecting samples. The official said that Khattar has ‘advised’ its chairman to follow the law of the land and made it clear that no one other than the FDA was authorised to collect such samples. Unfortunately, despite repeated assertions to the contrary by the state government, reports of cow vigilantes burning trucks and beating up drivers for allegedly transporting cows and beef continue to pour in. Although Khattar has done well to intervene in an attempt to defuse the situation but firm directions need to go out from him to the cow vigilantes and other so called protectors of cow to follow the rules and law of the land. He must also ensure that the provisions of the strict law brought in by his government are not misused and that innocents, who are also generally poor and have little capacity to defend themselves, are not prosecuted. // ]]>