Cattle Bill is nothing but a ploy to divert attention from Government’s failures: Congress

With Assam government tabling Cattle Preservation Bill, 2021 in state assembly, opposition Congress alleged this Bill is nothing but a ploy to divert attention from the Government’s failures in COVID management and vaccination.

Once passed, it will replace the Assam Cattle Preservation Act, 1950. Lok Sabha MP and Congress leader, Gaurav Gogoi said, Congress has been speaking about protection of cows for a long time now. “In the 2021 election manifesto we had promised the construction of gaushalas in every district. The Assam Congress has also raised the issue of illegal cow syndicate in Assam under the BJP government.”

He said, “People of Assam already revere the cow; we celebrate “goru-bihu”. In fact, this aspect of Assamese culture should be taken to all parts of India. All the key provisions of this Bill are already present in the existing law of 1950. Why was that not amended if needed, and implemented properly? Why the need for a new law? The Government does not need a new law to tackle the problem of cow smuggling.

Therefore this Bill is nothing but a ploy to divert attention from the Government failures in covid management and vaccination”.

He said that it is a copy-paste job of the Ordinance on cow protection that the BJP introduced in Uttar Pradesh. This Bill if converted into an Act misused, will sound the death-knell for thousands of dairy farmers and cooperatives in Assam. These cooperatives will not be able to take care of the aged cows that have stopped producing milk. It will create an environment of harassment when farmers want to purchase cattle. There is no mention of how to increase production of dairy, create more cooperatives, production units etc. The Congress Government on the other hand, had brought a World Bank project to Assam to promote dairy production.

The bill proposes sale of beef only at designated places restricting any kind of sale in areas resided by non-beef-eating communities.

According to the bill, “No person shall directly sell or offer or expose for sale or buy beef products in any form except at places permitted to do so by the competent authority. Provided that no such permission shall be granted in such area or areas which are predominantly inhabited by Hindu, Jain Sikh and other non-beef eating communities or within a radius of 5 km of ant temple,

(monastery) or other religious institutions belonging to Hindu religion or any other institutions or area as may be prescribed by the competent authority.”

The bill was tabled by Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Monday which provided that every animal committee of recognised animal markets shall issue proof of sale and purchase of animals in the prescribed format to the purchaser and maintain proper record for inspection by the competent authority.

The bill stated Cattle can be slaughtered in Assam only with authorities’ permission and at a licensed slaughter house after government veterinary officers issue fitness certificates.

Cows and their calves cannot be killed. Cattle aged above 14 years are otherwise permitted to be slaughtered.

The bill provides no transportation of cattle will be allowed and no transit of cattle will be allowed into Assam from other states or from it without a permit.

A police officer not below the rank of sub-inspector and registered veterinary officers may enter and inspect any premises for violations. A police officer or a registered veterinary officer shall have the power to enter and inspect any premises within the local limits of jurisdiction of such persons where he has reason to believe that an offence under this act has been or likely to be committed.

In case of a violation, the accused will not get bail until the public prosecutor has been given an opportunity of being heard on such a petition. If convicted under the new law, a person can be imprisoned for up to eight years and fined up to Rs 5 lakh.

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