Decision “will send strong signal to people engaged in illegal trade”

The Punjab government will set up a ‘cow memorial' at a factory site in Joga town, where recovery of cow carcasses sparked off riots earlier this week.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal's announcement on Wednesday came after a delegation of Hindu organisations, led by Punjab Gau Sewa Board Chairman Kimti Bhagat, called on him.

The government would acquire the factory premises for setting up the memorial. The decision “would also send a strong signal to all those involved in illegal trade.”

Earlier, a special team consisting of Education and Irrigation Ministers Sikander Singh Maluka and Janmeja Singh Sekhon, which visited the spot and met villagers, submitted a report the Chief Minister.

Last week, Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Gaushala Sangh activists had set fire to the factory premises, claiming cows were being slaughtered there.

The mob also vandalised the houses of factory owners Ajaib Singh and Mewa Singh. The factory was said to have been processing crushed bones of animals to make pharmaceutical products.

Mr. Badal also asked the Director-General of Police to ensure that all pending cases of cow slaughter were thoroughly probed and the “strictest punishment” was handed to the culprits. As many as 270 persons across the State face charges of cow slaughter.

Responding to other demands, Mr. Badal agreed on the need for creation of a legal cell to take up cases of cow slaughter.

He directed the Local Government department to ensure that all municipal bodies signed Memorandums of Understanding with local goshalas for protection and upkeep of cows.