Yediyurappa government planning to ban cow-slaughter, sale and consumption of beef in Karnataka

Published : July 15, 2020 13:40 IST

Prabhu Chauhan, Minister of Animal Husbandry, Karnataka. Photo: PTI

The Karnataka government is planning to introduce a bill in the next Assembly seeking to ban cow-slaughter and sale and consumption of beef in the State. Disclosing this to mediapersons during an interaction on June 11, Prabhu Chauhan, Minister of Animal Husbandry, said that an expert committee would be formed after concerns around the spread of the coronavirus subside to look into the implementation of an anti-cow slaughter law in Karnataka.

The BJP proposed this idea last August, a month after it had come to power. C.T. Ravi, Minister for Kannada and Culture, said then that a “Bill banning cow slaughter will be introduced soon”. Apparently, the idea was put on the back-burner as the party had some “governance issues” to resolve.

A total ban on cow slaughter has repeatedly figured in the BJP's election manifestos in Karnataka. The election manifesto of 2008 also promised this. After the party came to power on its own strength for the first time in Karnataka in that year, Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa had steered a Bill banning cow slaughter (The Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill) through the Legislative Assembly in 2010. It was passed by a voice vote amid noisy protests by the opposition parties. Siddaramiah, Leader of the Opposition, tore the Bill in the Assembly during a lengthy debate. At the time, Yediyurappa had said that the Bill aimed at preserving the rich cattle wealth of the State in accordance with Article 48 of the Directive Principles of State Policy, and should not be construed as one directed against any particular community

The Bill was forwarded to President Pratibha Patil, who sent it back seeking clarifications. The Bill was withdrawn in 2014 when the Congress came to power after winning the elections in 2013.

The government has a law—the Karnataka Prevention of Cow Slaughter and Cattle Preservation Act—which, passed in 1964, partially bans cow slaughter, But there are two crucial differences between this law and the 2010 Bill introduced by the BJP. While the 1964 Act had restricted only the “slaughter of cows, calves of cows and calves of she-buffaloes”, the 2010 Bill had sought to extend this to “cattle”, which it defined as “cow, calf of a cow and bull, bullock, buffalo male or female and the calf of she buffalo”. The 2010 Bill also prescribed severe punishment for penalties, unlike the 1964 Act, in which punishment for violations is milder.

According to Prabhu Chauhan, the forthcoming Bill will be even more stringent than the 2010 Bill.