Just over a month into forming a government, the BJP is discussing a petition to introduce a bill to ban the sale and possession of beef in Karnataka.
Speaking to TNM, Karnataka Minister for Tourism and Kannada and Culture, CT Ravi said that the state government is discussing a petition to re-introduce the Karnataka Prevention of Cow Slaughter and Cattle Preservation Bill made by the BJP's Cow Protection Cell.
“No decision has been taken but we are discussing a petition made by the BJP Cow Protection Cell on Friday,” CT Ravi said.
The Cow Protection Cell of the party's Karnataka unit on Thursday submitted a memorandum to Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa requesting a ban on cattle slaughter. The memorandum states that although the BJP government had tried to ban beef in the state in 2010 but the then Governor had rejected the bill and now that the BJP government has come to power again, the Cow-Protection Cell’s chief, Siddharth Goenka requested Yediyurappa to bring in stringent legislation against cow slaughter.
Speaking to TNM, Siddharth Goenka said that the 2010 bill could not be enacted due to political reasons. “Now that the BJP has come to power, the 2010 legislation must be strengthened even more. The government must consider this memorandum and introduce the bill in the upcoming Assembly session,” Siddharth Goenka said.
The BJP government had in 2010, introduced the Karnataka Prevention of Cow Slaughter and Cattle Preservation Bill. It was passed after a long debate in the Assembly, with the then Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah, calling the legislation "draconian", “unconstitutional” and “against secularism”. Siddaramaiah had also torn a copy of the bill and thrown it in the air in the Assembly.
After it was passed, the then Governor of Karnataka, HR Bharadwaj, had however not granted his assent, and therefore the bill did not become an Act. The bill prohibited slaughter of cattle, sale, usage and possession of beef, restricted transport of cattle and also prohibited sale, purchase or disposal of cattle for slaughter. The offence was deemed punishable with imprisonment not less than one year, which could extend up to seven years or a fine between Rs 25,000 and Rs 50,000 or both. A second offence would attract a fine of not less than Rs 50,000 or up to Rs one lakh along with imprisonment.
There is a ban on cattle slaughter in Karnataka according to the Karnataka Prevention of Cow Slaughter and Cattle Preservation 1964. However, this act bans the slaughter and sale of cows, calves and she-buffaloes.
The law allows slaughter of bulls, bullocks and male-buffaloes. It also allows slaughter of female buffaloes aged above twelve years, or are no longer fit for breeding or cannot give milk. The law also requires certification from authorities for cattle slaughter.
In 2013, the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government revoked the 2010 bill that was passed in the Assembly.