Congress Lok Sabha MP Abdul Khaleque on Wednesday alleged that the BJP-led government’s cow protection bill would help encourage mob lynching and create more cattle syndicates in the state.
He claimed that the bill, which proposes to regularize the slaughter, consumption and transportation of cattle, was introduced to further the agenda of the BJP and Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh and its provisions of the Act are to ensure that beef cannot be sold anywhere in the state.
A Member of Parliament from Barpeta, who was a minority-dominated constituency in Guwahati said; “By imposing various restrictions on the transport of cattle, a new permit raj will be created, leading to a huge cattle syndicate in Assam.”
On July 12, in the Assembly on tabling the Assam Cattle Protection Bill, 2021, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that the government wanted to repeal the Assam Cattle Protection Act, 1950, which he claimed There is a lack of adequate legal provisions to deal with the issue.
The bill proposes to ban the sale and purchase of beef, mainly in populated areas that Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and other non-beef-eating communities or within a 5 km radius of any temple, Sattra (Vaishnav monasteries) or any other institution or territory that may be proposed by authority.
However, the state government may be exempt from certain places of worship or special occasions for the slaughter of cattle other than calf, heifer and cow for religious purposes.
Mr Khaleque said; “The 5-km clause is the defining feature of the proposed law which indirectly means that beef cannot be sold almost anywhere in Assam.”
He said it would be difficult to find a single place in the state that would withstand such harsh conditions.
The Congress leader said; “It is clearly evident that the bill is for accomplishing the agenda of the BJP and the RSS and this provision may encourage mob lynching and incite communal incidents in the state.”
Mr Khaleque claimed that he had also mocked the center responsible for protecting the country’s borders. They claim that they have failed to stop the smuggling of cows across the Indo-Bangladesh border.
He said; “The BJP government has been in power for the last seven years in New Delhi. What steps have been taken to end cow smuggling? I thank the Assam chief minister for exposing the Centre’s lapses.”
The Himanta Biswa Sarma government has launched a crackdown on cow smuggling to neighboring Bangladesh.
The Congress MP claimed that banning the consumption of beef would violate the fundamental rights to food, although the government has justified it by citing Article 48 of the Constitution, which says that the state will take steps to ban the slaughter of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle.
He asked: “Why is the BJP government giving importance only to Article 48 and not 47?”
Article 47 of the Constitution says that the state shall endeavor to bring about prohibition of the consumption except for medicinal purposes of intoxicating drinks and the use of drugs which are harmful to health.
“Why does the chief minister not ban alcohol too?” Mr Khaleque asked and alleged that the BJP government was adhering to the principles of guidance in line with the party’s agenda.