Cow slaughter Bill introduced amid furore

Opposition parties stage a dharna in the Legislative Assembly

The Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle bill, 2010 seeks to replace the existing Act - The Karnataka Prevention of Cow Slaughter and Cattle Preservation Act, 1964. The bill proposes stringent punishment for violation including considering all offences under the Act as “congnisable and non-bailable and triable by the court of judicial magistrate, first class.” It also makes a provision for search and seizure of any premises which includes vessel or vehicle.

Both the Opposition parties, the Congress and the JD(S), have been opposing the bill tooth and nail alleging that it will be a deterrent to the minority community.

The Government recently withdrew a bill that was tabled during the Belgaum session of the Legislature in 2008. The earlier bill had only proposed an amendment to the Section 8 of 1964 Act, preventing cruelty against cattle during transportation. But the government later decided to replace the Act and introduce a comprehensive bill incorporating stringent penal clauses. Even as Speaker K G Bopaiah initiated the process to introduce the bill, Opposition leader Siddaramaiah stood up and termed the bill ‘draconian,’ and the one that would offend the minority community. “It is the hidden agenda of the government. It will divide people on communal lines,” he alleged.

Congress member Roshan Baig trooped into the well of the House raising slogans against the bill. He was followed by all the members of the Opposition who staged a dharna. However, the Speaker admitted the bill introduced by Animal Husbandry minister Revunaik Belamagi amid the din.

Senior Congress leader T B Jayachandra said the ruling party wants to take political mileage by projecting the ban on cow slaughter. A heated exchange ensued between the ruling and Opposition party members. “The Government has every right to introduce any bill in the House. If you (Opposition parties) have any problem with it, raise them at the time of discussion,” Law Minister Suresh Kumar said.

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