Karnataka BJP pushes for beef ban, minister says will introduce bill soon
Just a month after the Bharatiya Janata Party government came to power in the state it has moved towards bringing in a Bill to ban the slaughter and sale of cattle.
The BJP had in 2010 moved a Bill, the Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill, that was passed by both Houses of the state legislature. However, it did not receive the then Governor HR Bharadwaj’s approval and was pending with the President.
In 2013, when the Congress came back to power, chief minister Siddaramaiah decided to withdraw the Bill, which the Congress had opposed.
At present, a 1964 Act partially banning cow slaughter is in place. The Act allows for the slaughter of non-milch and diseased cattle. However, the 2010 Bill had sought to go beyond this and included even buffalo in the Act. It had also banned the sale and transport of beef, prescribing a maximum seven-year jail sentence for offenders.
Since, BS Yediyurappa became chief minister on July 26, leaders in the state party have been clamouring for reintroduction of the Bill. These calls appear to have been answered as confirmed by state minister CT Ravi.
“We have formed a team to study laws passed in different states and we will introduce a Bill soon,” Ravi told HT. “In doing so, we will be following Mahatma Gandhi’s call to stop the slaughter of cows and the Constitution,” he said, referring to the Directive Principles of State Policy.
A memorandum submitted by the Gow Samrakshana Prakoshta, the cow protection cell, of the BJP to the chief minister refers to the 2010 Act, saying that this needs to be reintroduced, considering that this was part of the manifesto of the party. “The 2010 Bill should be strengthened further,” the cell adds and asks the chief minister to hold discussions on the matter.
The BJP has also reasserted that it believes in one nation, one flag and has said that there is no provision for a separate state flag. Former chief minister Siddaramaiah had introduced a separate flag for Karnataka in 2018 in the run-up to last year’s assembly polls.
Speaking on the issue, Ravi, who is the Kannada and Culture minister, said that the Constitution was clear on this issue. “There can be cultural flags that are being used unofficially, but there cannot be another official flag apart from the tricolour. This is based on the Constitution, which does not permit such a thing,” he said.
Siddaramaiah’s separate state flag move was seen as a bid to win over Kannada voters by projecting the Congress as the protector of regional interests as opposed to the BJP. However, the proposal was not followed up by the subsequent former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy-led Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition government.
Congress state working president Eshwar Khandre said that he did not wish to comment on the beef ban as it was a sensitive issue. “I cannot comment without knowing what exactly the BJP is planning to bring out,” he said.
Regarding the state flag, Khandre said this was not the right time to bring up such matters. “In all, 22 districts have been affected by floods, so why is a BJP minister talking about this at such a time?” Khandre, who was a minister in the Congress government when the flag was revealed, said that there was no threat because of it. “The national flag is supreme for everybody in this country, there is no doubt about that. However, there is no harm if a Kannada flag is there,” he said.