Before the Karnataka Legislative Assembly convenes on 15 December, the contentious Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill, 2020, will be one of the “important Bills”, the Assembly looks to clear. With the Congress reportedly voting against it, the fate of the Bill depends on the JD(S) vote.
Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill, 2020 was passed in the Karnataka Assembly on 9 December, amid protests from the Opposition.
In an interview with The News Minute, former Karnataka Chief Minister and JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy says that the party has opposed the Bill from the beginning and will continue to do so.
“We have been opposed to the anti-cow slaughter Bill from the beginning and there are no changes in that. There is already a law in existence from 1964. There is no necessity to bring another Bill on the same issue. We have heard that the government might push the Bill through the ordinance route, we will oppose that as well,” he said.
The Bill has been criticised for giving rise to instances of harassment, as the police are given the power to raid and seize any property on mere “suspicion”.
“The Bill that has been tabled in Karnataka Assembly will give an opportunity for harassment, not just of farmers but of the common man as well. And it will empower the cow vigilantes in the state. It will create a situation where nobody can file cases or take action against them,” HD Kumaraswamy said.
He further questioned, “Every year India exports beef roughly worth Rs 29,000 crore. The BJP and the Bill is silent on the export. Gujarat is one of the largest exporters of beef. What about that?”
‘Nobody is Speaking About the Farmers the Bill Will Oppress’
Highlighting that the Bill also puts farmers at a disadvantage, Kumaraswamy told TNM “Today, there is no opportunity to make money or profit out of farming alone. But if a farmer has a few cows maybe there can be marginal financial prosperity in this house. If you tell the farmer that he cannot even sell a male cow that is born, it means that he will have to spend at least Rs 200-300 every day.”
He added, “There are no grazing lands anymore in Karnataka. Whatever grazing lands there are have either been encroached or have been taken over by the government, which means that the farmer will have to artificially produce feed for the cows. The farmer in Karnataka who is already reeling under economic burden will now be further burdened.”
He criticised the BJP government for thinking about “a small section of society that only worships cows and not the common man in the farming community.”
On the topic of violating legislative protocols and tabling the Bill without receiving the copy of the draft, Kumaraswamy confirmed that he did not receive a copy of the Bill.
“We were told that the government had assured the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) that the Bill will not be tabled. By taking advantage of Congress’ protest the government passed a Bill in the Assembly,” he said.
He finally alleged that the Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill, 2020 was a distraction to direct the spotlight away from the government’s failures in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
He told The News Minute, “There are bigger, far serious issues for the government to deal with. Due to coronavirus people are still suffering immensely. So instead of addressing these issues the government is trying to divert the attention of people from the failures of the government.”
(with inputs from The News Minute)