The Gujarat assembly on Friday passed a bill enhancing the 7-year jail time punishment for cow slaughter to life imprisonment.
Amendments to the Gujarat Animal Protection (Amendment) Act, 2011 include a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh and permanent confiscation of the vehicle used for transportation of the cattle – making Gujarat the strictest state in the country against cow slaughter. The offence is also likely to be made cognizable and non-bailable.
Cow slaughter has been the central theme of Chief Minister Vijay Rupani’s public speeches, amid speculations of an early state election.
Opposition Congress termed the amendments to the law a politically motivated move.
As reported by Hindustan Times, Congress MLA Shaktisinh Gohi, referring to the assault of Dalits by self-proclaimed cow vigilantes in Una last year, said,
“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.”
Encouraged by BJP’s landslide victory in Uttar Pradesh, the party hopes to consolidate votes in the coming Gujarat elections by enacting a harsher cow protection law.
The elections will be held in the backdrop of the Patidar agitations for reservation in government jobs and colleges. Patidars, or Patels, are followers of the religious Swaminarayan sect. and a crucial vote bank for the BJP.
“The BJP is committed to protect Gau, Ganga and Gita (Bhagavad Gita). And, for the same we are bringing a stricter cow protection law,” said CM Rupani.
In 2011, when PM Modi was the Chief Minister of Gujarat, cow protection had been a priority. The state government had imposed a complete ban on slaughtering and transportation of cow and progeny by amending the Gujarat Animal Preservation Act, 1954.
Under the act, those found guilty faced imprisonment up to 7 years and fine up to Rs 50,000. Additionally, the police could seize the vehicle used for transportation of the slaughtered cows for six months.
However, in the past 6 years, even though 1,000 cases were registered every year, a long-drawn legal process and provision for bail had reduced the law to a mere lip service as not a single case had seen conviction so far.
The Logical Indian condemns the Gujarat state government’s decision to award life imprisonment for cow slaughter. We live in a country where cows are abandoned when their milch days are over and they’re left to feed on plastic bags or are run over by cars. In the same country, a state law which gives life imprisonment for the slaughter of the animal, is sheer hypocrisy.