Cow slaughter ban bill passed in Karnataka Assembly
Amid uproarious scenes, Karnataka Assembly today passed the controversial cow slaughter ban Bill, which provides for stringent punishment for violaters and makes the offence cognisable and non-bailable.
After more than a four-hour debate, the Bill was passed by voice-vote as the entire opposition -- Congress and JDS -- trooped into the well of the House and shouted anti-government slogans, branding the BJP government "communal".
Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah, who termed the legislation "draconian", "anti-secular" and "unconstitutional" tore a copy of the the Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill, 2010 -- and threw it in the air.
Earlier, Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa defended the Bill, saying it was aimed at protecting cows and preserve cattle in Karnataka. A number of states, including Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhatisgarh and Jammu and Kashmir, already had similar legislation, he added.
Cow slaughter ban is in force in Cuba and Iran, Yeddyurappa said, and highlighted the medicinal benefits of cow urine which have been proved by research.The bill prohibits slaughter of cattle, sale, usage and possession of beef, puts restriction on transport of cattle and also prohibits sale, purchase or disposal of cattle for slaughter.
The offence is punishable with imprisonment not less than one year which may extend up to seven years or fined between Rs 25,000 to Rs 50,000 or both; second and subsequent offence would attract a fine of not less than Rs 50,000 up to Rs one lakh along with imprisonment penalty.
The bill was intended to replace the Karnataka Prevention of Cow Slaughter and Cattle Preservation Act, 1964, to prohibit the slaughter of cows and calves of she-buffaloes, bull, buffalo male or female.It is also aimed at preservation and improvement of the breeds of cattle and to endeavour to organise agriculture and animal husbandry in terms of Article 48 of the Constitution.
The bill provides for stringent punishment for violation of the act, and also provides for powers to search and seizure of any premises including vessel or vehicle.
Home Minister V S Acharya said the bill was "in tune with the sentiments of the majority community", as per the election manifesto of the BJP, and the judgements of Supreme Court and High Court.
Siddaramaiah said such a bill can be enacted only in "Hitler's regime" and not in democracy. "Is yours a Hitler's regime ?" he asked.
The BJP Government, he charged, was thrusting "vegetarian culture" on the people, adding, if the bill was passed, the price of mutton per kg would shoot up to Rs 1,000 from the present Rs 260 or so.
By this act, those dependent on the products such as shoes, leather, belts, nail polish, films, buttons and other beef products would lose their jobs. "You are making their life miserable", he said.As several opposition members flayed the bill in the debate that saw sparks fly, Siddaramaiah cautioned it would create "disturbance" in society and have an adverse impact on harmony.
Defending the bill, C T Ravi (BJP) said there would be severe shortage of milk in Karnataka in future if the current rate of cow slaughter continued in the State.
JDS leader H D Revanna said the BJP brought the bill keeping in view its "vote bank".
Roshan Baig (Congress) expressed shock over the provision for a seven-year imprisonment in the act. "Don't try to implement hidden agenda", he told the BJP government, adding, the 1964 act was good enough.
Qamarul Islam (Congress) said the bill would create "hatred" among different communities, leading to "law and order problems". Several opposition members argued it poor eat beef as this meat is affordable and inexpensive at around Rs 60 per kg, compared to chicken and mutton. The choice should be left to the people, they said.