Pune: To avoid law-and-order situations from flaring up whenever law enforcement agencies or cow vigilantes allegedly find cow meat being transported, stored or consumed, the State Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) has come up with a unique concept - police officers will now carry meat detection kits to the crime scenes.
Krishna Kulkarni, Director of State Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL), told Sakal Times that currently 25 police officers from across the State are being trained to use 18 types of forensic kits, including meat detection kits. Kulkarni added that under this unique programme initiated by FSL and the Director-General (DG)'s Office, around 100 police officers are being selected to impart training in scientific collection and careful dispatch of biological evidence to FSL.
Kulkarni added that along with 25 officials from FSL, police officers who are completing 20 days of residential course will play a significant role in collecting evidence. He said FSL gets at least 100 meat samples for identifying animal origin and DNA test reports require two days. "Considering the law-and-order situation where such samples are seized, our Director General SP Yadav instructed us to develop a kit which will give immediate results," he said.
The meat detection kit has been developed by Dr Jayant Bhanushali of Amar Diagnostic Ltd from Hyderabad. Bhanushali said that one can get results within an hour. He said the kit works like any other Elisa (Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay). He said Elisa procedures are fairly standard procedures in immunology to detect different proteins, viruses, bacteria, hormones and drugs. "We are using the same technique to detect unique proteins specific to cows or buffaloes," he added.
Sources from FSL said that out of the total meat samples being sent to FSL, only ten per cent are cow or bull meat. This kit will help them reduce the load of meat samples being sent to FSL. Kulkarni added that only positive samples will be sent to FSL for DNA tests. He said DNA test reports are a must as screening test reports are not considered viable in the courts.
What the law says
* The Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act in March 2015 banned the slaughter of bulls and bullocks. The law makes the sale of bulls and bullocks for slaughter a crime, punishable with a jail term of up to five years and a fine of Rs 10,000.
*The Bombay HC recently ruled that possessing beef meat in Maharashtra is not illegal. The order allows possession of beef in the State, with the onus on the police to prove that the beef came from cow, bull within the State.