Gujarat cleared a new bill on Friday calling for severe punishment against those who kill cows in the state. Gujarat Animal Preservation (amendment) – Bill 2017 was passed by the majority votes in the absence of opposition members. After passing this law, Gujarat becomes the first state in India which conferred harshest punishment on cow slaughtering.
The amendment bill makes the law stricter and provides for harsher punishment and higher penalties to prevent cow slaughter in the state.
The Bill introduced in the House stated that maximum punishment for cow slaughter will be 10 years but not less than seven years. However, junior Home minister Pradipsinh Jadeja sought an amendment to enhance the punishment to life term, which was passed and adopted in the Bill.
With the passing of the amendment Bill, Gujarat becomes the first State in the country to make cow slaughter punishable.
“During this auspicious occasion of Chhetri Navratri, the government, on suggestions of several sadhu-sants, has made amendments to the Gujarat Animal Protection (Amendment) Act, 2011. This is the harshest law in the country,” said minister of state for home Pradeepsinh Jadeja.
As the move comes months before the assembly election scheduled for November-December, opposition Congress termed it politically motivated.
“This is not out of concern for cows. The BJP has passed this bill to get votes. Through this bill, it has been proved that BJP is anti-Dalit,” said Congress MLA Shaktisinh Gohi, referring to the flogging of Dalits by self-proclaimed cow vigilantes in Una last year.
Another important provision is with regard to vehicles used for transportation of animals for slaughtering.
It says, “The vehicles or any conveyance so seized under sub section (3) shall stand forfeited to government in the manner as my be prescribed. It is, however, experienced while implementing the said Act that still more stringent provisions are required to be made amending the said Act for curbing the menace of illegal slaughtering of the animals covered under the said Act to provide for more stringent punishment and effectively check the rampant use of vehicles for transporting such animals.”
Yogi Adityanath has also been invited to campaign in Gujarat, a move that the opposition Congress says indicates a plan to polarize voters.
The slaughter and transport of cows was banned in Gujarat in 2011, when the state was ruled by Narendra Modi, now Prime Minister.