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Karnataka Assembly Passes Anti-Cow Slaughter Bill, Jail Term Upto Seven Years for Violators

Syed Sujeel Ahmed | India Tomorrow

BENGALURU—Amid uproar and protests by Opposition members including Congress, the Karnataka Assembly on Wednesday passed a bill against cow slaughter proposing severe penalty for violators.

The controversial Bill was passed without discussion as the Congress members staged a walkout from the Assembly session in protest.

Known as the Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill-2020, the Bill defines ‘cattle’ as cow, calf of a cow and bull (of all ages and health conditions), and buffalo (he and she) below the age thirteen years.

According to the Bill, cow, calf of a cow and bull of any age cannot be slaughtered. However, male and female of the buffalo can be slaughtered but it should be above 13 years of age.

Those found violating the legislation, would face imprisonment from three to seven years with a fine of Rs. 50,000 per cattle which can go up to Rs. 7 lakh or both. If a person commits the same offence for the second or consequent times, the fine will be not lesser than Rs.1 lakh, which can go up to Rs.10 lakh along with imprisonment up to seven years.

All the BJP MLAs were wearing saffron shawls and shouted “Gau Mata Ki Jai” when the Bill was tabled by Animal Husbandry Minister Prabhu Chavan.

The Opposition alleged that the Bill was tabled clandestinely without a discussion in the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) meeting.

Speaking to mediapersons, leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, Siddaramaiah alleged, “Yesterday we had discussed that no new bill be tabled. We had agreed that only the ordinances will be passed. Now Prabhu Chavan has all-of-a-sudden introduced this anti-cow slaughter bill.” Media reports suggest that the Congress opposed the Bill raising anti-government slogans and trooping its MLAs into the well of the House.

It is feared by the Opposition political parties that the Bill, if approved, may be misused to target the minorities, and stir communal tension. The Bill also proposes to provide protection to those who would undertake rescue or safeguard of cows, if found mistreated or being smuggled for slaughtering. It is this provision in the Bill that can be misused to target Muslim cattle traders by vigilante groups belonging to saffron groups.

The Bill will now be tabled in Karnataka State Legislative Council or the Upper House for approval where the BJP does not have numbers. In the 75-member Upper House, the Congress has 28 members, the JD(S) 14, one independent member and one chairman.

This is BJP’s second attempt to bring a more stringent legislation banning cow slaughter in the State. In 2010, the then BJP government brought a similar bill which was pending with the President after it was passed in the Assembly. However, when the Congress government came to power in the State in 2013, it withdrew the Bill.

It is feared that the Bill, if it becomes a law, would make hundreds of thousands associated with meat and leather trade jobless, create a new agrarian crisis, and result in downturn of the state’s economy.

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