Gomata protection gains momentum

via HARAN B R - Daily Pioneer published on March 26, 2010

If success in banning cow slaughter is the litmus test of any BJP regime’s commitment to Hindutva, the Yeddyurappa dispensation in Karnataka has done well — but what would be its effect on the BJP’s national image?

In its session, which ended last week, the Karnataka Assembly passed the “Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill 2010” by voice vote amidst chaotic protests by the Opposition. It may be recalled that the BJP government withdrew the already existing “Karnataka Prevention of Cow Slaughter and Cattle Preservation Act 1964” days before introducing this new Bill. Though the government didn’t cite any reasons for its withdrawal at the time, the Opposition objected to in the anticipation that a new Bill would be introduced with changes making it more stringent.

Under the new Bill, cow slaughter and transportation would attract imprisonment ranging from one year to seven years and fine from Rs 25,000 to Rs 1,00,000, depending on the nature of the offence. Under the previous Act of 1964, the slaughter of bulls, bullocks and adult buffaloes was permitted on the basis of ‘fit-for-slaughter’ certificates, which were given only when the animals were over 12 years of age or permanently incapacitated for breeding, draught or milk due to injury, deformity or other causes. Transportation for slaughter outside the state was not permitted and sale, purchase or disposal of cow or calf for slaughter was also banned. The offence was considered cognizable and the penal provision was imprisonment up to maximum of 6 months or fine of up to Rs 1,000 or both.

Karnataka has been ruled by the Congress and the Janata Dal for years and their failure to prevent slaughter of cattle despite the 1964 Act shows the ineffectiveness of the Bill as well as the incompetence of those governments. In an era of corruption and inefficiency, it becomes imperative to deal with offenders and criminals in a more stringent manner to bring down the rate of crime and maintain law and order.

The problem with the present Congress leadership is that it deliberately disregards its own predecessors’ opinions. This aspect was pointed out by chief minister Yeddyurappa, who recalled that Indira Gandhi had written to the chief ministers in 1982 asking them to ban cow slaughter and that

Jawaharlal Nehru had also advocated a ban on cow slaughter. Gandhiji, in whose name the Congress does its political business, venerated, worshipped and defended the cow calling it the

‘Mother of millions of mankind’. Gandhi termed cow protection as the central fact of Hinduism.

Moreover, Article 48 (Organisation of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry) of the Constitution says: “The State shall endeavour to organise agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines and shall, in particular, take steps for preserving and improving the breeds, and prohibiting the slaughter of cows and other milch and draught cattle.”

Even as recently as October 2005, the Supreme Court upheld the Constitutional validity of a Gujarat law imposing a complete ban on slaughtering of bulls and bullocks, often misused to get around the ban on slaughter of cows. Hence, the Bill introduced by the BJP government and passed by the Assembly is constitutionally valid and the Congress party’s comment that it is ‘unconstitutional’ is at the most self-deception.

There is a tendency among ‘secular’ political parties and a section of the mainstream media to project this issue as BJP’s ‘hidden’ and ‘communal’ agenda, while in fact this law is prevailing in almost all the states except Kerala, West Bengal, Meghalaya and Nagaland. The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 also plays a significant role in this issue and the amendment brought in by Central Act 26 of 1982 has paved the way for the establishment of the ‘Animal Welfare Board of India’, which does a decent job despite corruption, nepotism and political interference.

The Congress has also harped on other phony issues saying that the act will render thousands jobless, affect leather trade, etc. But, the Congress failed to understand that the preservation of cattle will improve agriculture, animal husbandry, dairy farms, and ecology and socio-religious affairs. Cow protection as a policy would go a long way in agricultural development, resulting in a flourishing village economy. As India’s economy revolves around agriculture, cattle welfare is fundamental to it. Cow-dung and cow-urine have medicinal properties and they also act as manure helping the growth of crops as well as preserving the richness of soil. It can also be used in the production of electricity through gobar gas.

The protection of cow as a ‘Movement’ has been there for years and the movement gained momentum during the time of Swami Dayananda Saraswati, founder of Arya Samaj and took roots across the country. Most of the freedom fighters wanted the cow slaughter banned. That is why the Constituent Assembly made a separate Article (48) for this while framing the Constitution.

Recently, the “Vishwa Mangal Gau Gram Yatra”, organised by the RSS and affiliated organisations, toured the whole country in 108 days and over 10,000 upyatras exhorted each and every village, city and street of the country. Along with Hindus, Christians and Muslims too have extended their support to the cause of cow protection. Thousands of social organisations of the country participated in various functions of the yatra. The signature campaign conducted during the yatra proved the biggest signature campaign ever conducted in the world. Crores of people extended their support to the cause of cow protection through this campaign. The success of the yatra and the signature campaign underline the necessity of a blanket ban on cow slaughter throughout the country.

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