Karnataka Governor clears ordinance banning cattle slaughter that the Yediyurappa government brought after it failed to get Bill passed in the Legislative Council

Published : January 06, 2021 13:23 IST

Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa. (file photo) Photo: G R N Somashekar

Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala promulgated an ordinance banning cattle slaughter — the Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Ordinance, 2021 — in the State on January 5. While the Legislative Assembly, where the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has a majority, passed the cattle slaughter Bill on December 9, the government was forced to use the ordinance route after it failed to get the Bill tabled in the Legislative Council, where it does not have a majority.

The 2021 ordinance replaces the Karnataka Prevention of Cow Slaughter and Cattle Preservation Act, 1964, which now stands repealed. The ordinance bans all bovine slaughter, with the exception of buffaloes over 13 years of age, in the State. It imposes harsh penalties on violators and proposes a jail term that could extend up to seven years along with a hefty fine.

Senior opposition leaders such as former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah of the Congress and former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda of the Janata Dal (Secular) had opposed the ban on cattle slaughter. Siddaramaiah even stated that he himself ate cattle meat and asked the BJP leaders how they could stop him from doing so.

The ordinance has also been opposed by several groups in the State. While farmers groups said it would disrupt the rural economy, forcing farmers to care for aged and unproductive cattle, Dalit groups said it impinged on their hereditary food culture. The law also affects the livelihoods of lakhs of people in the State, and with the ban, nutritionists claim, a large segment of the economically backward has lost access to a cheap source of protein.