Prohibition to sell beef in 5 km area around Hindu dominated areas and temples: New bill in Assam!
A new bill has been tabled in the Assam Legislative Assembly to ban the sale of beef within a 5-kilometer radius of areas inhabited by Hindu, Jain, Sikh and other non-beef-eating communities or in temples and Vaishnava monasteries.
Earlier, the BJP government led by Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sharma had tabled the Assam Cattle Prevention Bill, 2021 in the state Assembly on June 12, following the approval of the bill by the Assam Cabinet on July 7. If passed, it would amend the state’s previous Act, Assam Cattle Preservation Act, 1950.
According to the 1950 Act, cattle’s “over 14 years of age” or “the ones which are deemed unfit for other activities such as breeding” will be sent for meat after being inspected and certified by a local veterinary officer. But under this new bill all livestock must have a certificate of approval. It is said to apply to all cattle, including ‘ bulls, cows, cows, calves, male and female buffaloes and buffalo calves’. The new bill, however, stipulates that no cows should be used for meat irrespective of age.
Further, this new draft law states that livestock cannot be transported within the state and through the state of Assam without proper documentation, unless there is a proper animal slaughter law in the states where the livestock are transported.
As Assam is the main gateway for transporting goods to other northeastern parts of India like Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland, it is said that the implementation of this law will affect the transport for reasons like agricultural demand and beef. The beef trade is the mainstay of the Christian majority state like Meghalaya.
GHP Raju, Principal Secretary, ,Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Department of Meghalaya said, “The department has noticed a shortage of beef in our market. Our state meat traders are bringing in cattle from Bihar, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh. We are a predominantly meat consuming state. So any shortfall in its supply will lead to an increase in prices and it will cause inconvenience to consumers. ”
“…It has been informed that the Assam government is planning to enact a law to protect the cows. We will make sure that the laws passed by other states will be made in a way that will not cause any inconvenience to the poor farmers of our state. ” He said.
Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma had expressed his displeasure over the Assam bill even before it was introduced. He told the Hindu that if the law affects the movement of cattle from other states to Meghalaya, we will raise the issue not only with the Assam government but also with the United Kingdom. All steps will be taken by us to ensure that the transportation of our state is not hampered by this law which can be passed by the Government of Assam. ”
Furthermore, if the bill is implemented, it will give police officers , above the rank of sub-inspector and the veterinary officers, the power to enter and inspect any slaughterhouse that is said to be operating by violating the norms. If violations are found, the accused cannot be granted bail until the petition is heard by the public prosecutor.
Prior to Assam, Rajasthan, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh have already enacted similar anti-slaughter laws with suitable modulations. But this is the first time that prohibition laws have been made to prohibit the sale or purchase of beef or beef products in certain areas.