Cow Protection Bill: Why Assam is introducing it in next Assembly Session
Guwahati: Assam governor Jagdish Mukhi on May 22 inaugurating the first assembly session after chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma took over charge said that the state government was contemplating to bring a law in the next session of the house to protect cows in the state.
Recently, the state cabinet also has given its nod and the proposed law was expected to be tabled in the coming weeks during the state budget session of the house starting from July 12.
Earlier endorsing the law, CM Sarma also said that cow has been worshiped in the country and there should not be beef consumption in areas where the animal is worshiped.
Sarma added that the state government was not against consumption of beef or people should leave their habit, but there should be sensitivity towards others who don’t.
In Assam, the cattle slaughtering is regulated by the Assam Cattle Preservation Act, 1950. The existing act included bulls, bullocks, cows, calves, male and female buffaloes, and buffalo calves under the term ‘cattle’.
In the state, slaughter of all cattle is allowed after a ‘fit-for-slaughter’ certificate, to be given if cattle is over 14 years of age or has become permanently incapacitated for work or breeding due to injury, deformity or any incurable disease.
Though the exact contents of the legislation were not yet known, Sarma informed that the legislation would ban the movement of cattle from other parts of the country into Assam and also from the state to outside.
As per government sources, the law has been drafted aiming to end cattle smuggling from the state to neighbouring country of Bangladesh. Currently, cattle from many states of the country have been illegally transported via Assam and smuggled to the neighbouring country as well as to Meghalaya.
CM Sarma recently said that the volume of illegal cattle smuggling was somewhere around Rs. 1000 Crore monthly and the state police have launched a crackdown against cattle smuggling and the racketeers. A few were even recently shot too.
As per state police the existing law doesn’t allow them to stop someone from transporting cattle to another state. If stopped, the smugglers can claim that these are personal cattle.
According to the Union government, the Border Security Forces had seized 476,035 head of cattle between 2016 and 2020 along the Indo-Bangla border. Assam shares 263 km of border with Bangladesh, out of which 143.9 km is land and 119.1 km is riverine.