Cows in Madhya Pradesh will now be on the same page as tigers as far as state protection is concerned.
On Thursday, the assembly passed the amendment to the MP Prevention of Cow Slaughter (Amendment) Act that provides for a maximum jail term of seven years for killing a cow or a bull, or being involved in such an act.
The same is the level of punishment one gets for killing a tiger under central legislation.
The MP law does not cover buffaloes.
The state animal husbandry department, which piloted the Bill, said the amendment was essential for maintaining communal amity and for the benefit of the citizens.
On Thursday, when the Bill was being discussed in the assembly, Congress MLA Mahendra Singh Kalukhera said that apart from giving protection to cows, the government should also ensure
that they led a healthy and productive life.
Brajraj Singh of the Congress said that the amendments had been brought in to target a particular community.
There was opposition from BJP members when he said that communities like the Banjaras and Marwaris were prevented from transporting cows for feeding by organisations such as the Bajrang Dal and Viswa Hindu Parishad.
Now killing a cow/bull, or ordering and giving it away for slaughter, will result in a minimum punishment of one year and a maximum of seven years, and a fine of at least Rs 5,000.
The owner of a vehicle used for transporting beef will get a jail term ranging from six months to three years, besides a minimum fine of Rs 5,000.