Farmers and Dalit organisations oppose Karnataka government's plan to bring Bill banning cow slaughter

Published : September 25, 2020 10:57 IST

Leaders of farmers and Dalit groups address a press conference to oppose the proposed Bill banning bovine slaughter in Karnataka. Photo: VIKHAR AHMED SAYEED

Senior Ministers in the B.S. Yediyurappa-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Karnataka, including Animal Husbandry Minister Prabhu Chauhan, have stated that the government intends to introduce a Bill banning bovine slaughter in the State in the ongoing monsoon session of the legislature. The proposed Bill seeks to amend the Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Act, 1964.

In a statement, Prabhu Chauhan said that the proposed Bill would have more stringent provisions than the 2010 Bill which was passed in the State Legislative Assembly during the Chief Ministership of B.S. Yediyurappa but was not implemented by the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government that came to power in 2013. The issue has repeatedly figured in the BJP election manifesto.

In a press conference on Thursday, representatives of leading farmer and Dalit organisations strongly opposed any move towards introducing this Bill. J.M. Veerasangaiah, working president of the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha, said the Bill “should not be tabled”. He added, “Yediyurappa had tried to bring this law even in 2010 but did not succeed because of opposition from the farming community. The farming community is suffering severe economic hardship in the State because of the pandemic. The sale of aged cows, bullocks and buffaloes allows a farmer to alleviate his dire situation slightly and this law will even prevent that. Somehow, the BJP’s ideology wants us to feel that vegetarianism is supreme whereas non-vegetarianism is bad, but how will the poor, Dalits and religious minorities get nutritional food without beef?”

The State president of the Samata Sainik Dal, B. Channakrishnappa said, “The BJP has a hidden agenda against Dalits, farmers and religious minorities with this proposed Bill. I demand that why only cow slaughter, even the slaughter of sheep, chicken and pigs should be banned. Don’t they say that the boar is an avatar of Vishnu? We live in a democracy. We have the freedom to eat what we want. Instead of focusing on development during a pandemic, the BJP is amending farming and labour laws and is now targeting the poor with this Bill.”

R. Mohan Raj, State convener of the Dalit Sangharsh Samiti, stated, “Food culture is unique and the Constitution gives everyone the right to eat whatever  they want.  This anti-people’s Bill should not be tabled. Have we ever told Yediyurappa not to eat puliyogare (tamarind rice)? That is his choice. They [the BJP] show that they are targeting Muslims, but their real target is Dalits.”

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