Gujarat: Life imprisonment for killing cows – Parimal A. Dabhi

Vijay Rupani

NewsChief Minister Vijay Rupani said that while he was “not against any food,” he wanted to make Gujarat “shakahari (vegetarian),” “We do not want Jersey cows, but Gir and Kankreji cows instead,” he said. – Parimal A. Dabhi

The Gujarat government Friday amended the state’s Animal Preservation Bill to entail a maximum punishment of life imprisonment and a minimum of 10 years for cow slaughter after it was passed in the assembly in the absence of the Opposition Congress and with the visitors’ gallery packed with saffron-clad Hindu priests.

Speaking on the amendment, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said that while he was “not against any food”, he wanted to make Gujarat “shakahari (vegetarian)”, “We do not want Jersey cows, but Gir and Kankreji cows instead,” he said.

Rupani also described Gujarat as a “unique state”, which followed the tenets of Mahatma Gandhi—“non-violence and truth”. “This is Gandhi’s Gujarat, Sardar’s (Vallabhbhai Patel) Gujarat and (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi’s Gujarat,” said Rupani.

The passage of the Gujarat Animal Preservation (Amendment) Bill, 2017 came eight months after seven Dalits were beaten by self-styled cow vigilantes for alleged cow slaughter in Una.

The punishment for cow slaughter under the earlier law was imprisonment ranging from three to seven years. The new law also makes offences under the amended Act non-bailable.

The amendment was cleared after the Speaker suspended members of the Congress for creating a ruckus before the Bill was passed.

When the amendment Bill was introduced over a month ago, it had a maximum punishment of ten years imprisonment. On Friday, however, the ruling BJP moved to enhance the punishment to a life-term.

In another major amendment, the Bill included a provision that vehicles caught in transporting cows, beef or beef products illegally will be forfeited to the state government. The maximum fine for the offence has also been increased from Rs 50,000 to one ranging from Rs 1 lakh-Rs 5 lakh.

Besides, the punishment for conviction for illegal transportation of cow, beef or beef products has been increased from three years imprisonment to seven years.

The Act allows transportation of animals of cow progeny with permission, but not between 7 pm and 5 am.

The statement of the Bill reads, “In the year 2011, the State Government had made certain amendments in the said Act for better implementation of the Act. It is, however, experienced while implementing the said Act that still more stringent provisions are required to be made by 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.”

During the discussion on the Bill, Minister of State for Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja said, “This is not a Bill, but a feeling of crores of Indians. It is my humble attempt to give voice to the cows being killed by butchers. A single drop of cow blood falling on earth pains Hindus. With this law, Vijaybhai Rupani’s government will make Gujarat cow-slaughter-free.”

Jadeja also offered his respects to the “Hindu saints” in the visitors gallery, and said that he was “feeling proud as a Hindu” to introduce the Bill in the House.

One of those present in the gallery, Kaniramji Bapu of Dudhrej in Surendranagar district, an important religious seat of the Maldhari community (cattle herders) in Gujarat, said, “We oppose cow slaughter and believe in its preservation. And so, we came here in support of the Act. Cows should be preserved and their slaughtering must end.”

Another religious figure, Mahant Vikramgiri from Ghela-Somnath of Jasdan in Rajkot district, said, “Around 300 sadhu-sants have come to Assembly. Since the government had announced that they will bring the Bill, we knew it in advance and are here to support it.”

In 2011, when Narendra Modi was chief minister of Gujarat, the state government had imposed a complete ban on slaughter of cows, transportation and selling of cow meat by amending the Act. – Indian Express, 1 April 2017

» Parimal A. Dabhi reports for The Indian Express in Gujarat.

Gujarati Sadhus

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2 Responses

  1. A bold and commendable move by the Gujarat State government. For decades after independence most if not all former colonial countries are still largely stuck with the adopted laws and legislation enforced by the previous rulers.
    For most people independence means freedom from foreign rule, but after some thought one realizes that previous legislation and policies don’t evaporate so easily. After centuries of foreign rule the adopted way of life often becomes second nature. Africa is in a similar predicament as it is often in conflict with its own identity against the former colonial rulers heritage and customs.
    A careful study and rational interpretation of ones own religion and customs and weighing it up against the current adopted policies is required by all former colonial countries.
    Hopefully the Gujarat model is a catalyst for all other states and countries. In the same breath we should be careful not to enforce blind and selfish driven policies of our predecessors.

  2. We’ll hang those who kill cows: Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh – Times of India – TNN – Raipur – April 2, 2017

    RAIPUR: A day after Gujarat adopted the toughest law against cow slaughter by making it punishable with a 14-year jail term, Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh said in Jagdalpur on Saturday that those who kill cows in his state “will be hanged”.

    Singh was replying to a question from reporters whether the state government was considering any tough legislation to check cow slaughter. “Is cow slaughter happening anywhere in the state? Have any cows been killed in our state in the last 15 years?” Singh posed a counter-question. Then, with a smile, he said: “Jo gai ko marega, unko latka denge (We will hang those who kill a cow).”

    Rejecting the CM’s claim, state Congress general secretary Shailesh Nitin Trivedi said cow slaughter is rampant even in places close to the state capital but no effective action seems to have been taken.

    Even those associated with the ruling party are involved in the transportation of agriculture cattle for slaughter, he alleged. “The talk about hanging those who kill cows is just an attempt by the chief minister to go with the flow of BJP,” Trivedi remarked.

    Raman Singh had taken the initiative to ban cow slaughter in the state in the very first year of his office after coming to power in December 2003. The Chhattisgarh Agricultural Cattle Preservation Act, 2004 provides for imprisonment up to seven years and a fine of Rs 50,000 for the slaughter of cattle, possession of beef and transport of agriculture cattle for slaughter.

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