“Nonsense,” Scientists debunk Allahabad HC order to make cow national animal

Photo: Sahid Faris/Maktoob

Rejecting the bail petition of Javed, a Muslim youth booked under the draconian UP Cow Slaughter Act, Allahabad High Court ruled that cow slaughter is a criminal offense and that “cow protection should be a fundamental right of Hindus.”

Apart from the advocacy for cow’s rights, including urging the union government to bring a bill in the parliament for “protection of cows” and declare cow as the national animal, the Allahabad High Court judge, Shekhar Kumar Yadav has come up with a list of unscientific observations in the court order.

After wrongly crediting cow ghee used in pyres to be the cause of rainfall, he elaborated that cow ghee “energizes the sun rays, and this energy becomes the cause of rainfall, it being the source of life for crops, trees, etc.” Later, the High Court judge went on to claim that “scientists believe cow is the only animal that inhales and exhales oxygen.”

The statement wrongly gives the impression that as plants cows can also produce oxygen. “All animals exhale oxygen in very small amounts during respiration. Cow is not the only animal to do so. And causes of rainfall is elementary science,” Amitabh Joshi, founding member of Indian Society of Evolutionary Biologists (I.S.E.B.) told Maktoob.

During respiration, we inhale air that primarily consists of nitrogen and oxygen with small amounts of carbon dioxide and other gases. And while exhaling, air consists of the aforementioned gases, but, in different proportions as compared to the inhaled air.

This is not the first time, nonsense has been said out in public. “But what alarms, is that the nonsense had gone up the ladder. From Sangh circles to ministers, and now to the judiciary,” says Dr. S Krishna Swamy, retired professor of Biotechnology, Madhurai Kamaraj University.

“When power centers tamper with scientific truths, they must be debunked and ridiculed”, Dr. Sabyasachi Chatterjee, president of All India People’s Science Network and retired scientist at the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, said to Maktoob.

‘Science’ and ‘culture’ dragged to deny rights to a man

Javed has been imprisoned for more than 6 months on charges of theft (IPC sections 379) and cow slaughter (sections 3/5/8 of the UP Cow Slaughter Act) in Sambhal district. He had argued that allegations of cow slaughter against him were false and that a fake case was lodged against him.

“We know when the country’s culture and faith are hurt, the country becomes weak,” Justice Yadav said, adding that ‘when Sanskriti was forgotten foreigners attacked us’ and the ‘Taliban occupation of Afghanistan’ should not be forgotten.

“Babur, Humayun, and Akbar also prohibited the sacrifice of cows in their religious festivals. The Nawab of Mysore, Hyder Ali, made cow slaughter a punishable offense,” the Court added.

“…if he is released on bail, he will commit the same crime again leading to tension in society, ” the judge observed denying the man bail.

With all the reference to Humayun and Akbar, to Afghanistan along with culture and prosperity, The court order running to twelve pages had very little relevance to the bail petitioner’s case.

Courts claims on cow continued, “The cow is useful even when she is old and sick, and her dung and urine are very useful for agriculture, making of medicines, and most of all, the one who is worshipped as a mother, even if she gets old or sick. No one can be given the right to kill her.”

While the Constitution holds the development of scientific temper as a fundamental duty under Article 51A, “It shall be the duty of every citizen of India to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform,” ironically not only has the judge Shekhar Kumar Yadhav failed to follow his duties, he has denied a man bail upon unscientific claims.

From covid remedies to introducing astrology in the IGNOU curriculum as science, the Indian government has been endorsing unscientific claims frequently.

“The legal fraternity has to save itself from such practices through in-house criticism”, said Dr. Krishnaswamy. And he prompted the science academicians proximal to power centers to actively check and resist such false leading statements.

This craziness on cow urine and its dung have gone to the extent of creating Cow Commission under the Ministry of Animal Husbandry and Fisheries, which claims to cure cancer to tuberculosis to covid at the cost of people’s health and wellbeing.

Moreover, the recent judgment has come at a time when Hindu nationalist parties are continuously supporting the mob violence by vigilante groups targeting Muslims, Dalits, and other religious minorities in the name of so-called cow protection. The Police -mostly in BJP states -often stalled prosecutions of the attackers, while several BJP politicians publicly justified the attacks. Between May 2015 and December 2020, at least 100 people – including 70 Muslims – were killed in such attacks. 

In recent years, several BJP-ruled states have adopted draconian laws and policies related to cow protection that disproportionately harm minority communities.