The Kamal Nath government in Madhya Pradesh on Wednesday presented a bill in the Vidhan Sabha to rein in unruly cow vigilantes by amending the state cow protection law passed during the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rule in the state.
Cattle transportation and sale have become a major worry following the self-styled cow protectors who indulge in extortion and create terror among cattle breeders.
State Animal Husbandry Minister Lakhan Singh Yadav presented the MP Cow Progeny Slaughter Prevention (Amendment) Bill 2019 to ensure a jail term of six months to three years and a fine of Rs 25,000-50,000 for those who are convicted for committing violence in the name of cow.
The bill provides for punishment for a minimum one year to a maximum of five years with Rs 50,000 fine if a mob is involved in such violence. The law doubles the punishment for repeat offenders.
The bill also proposes to ease cow transportation which often invites cow vigilantes’ ire. Under the proposed amendment in the bill, the buyers of cows will have to seek permission from the area’s competent authority to transport the bovines.
According to the Anti-Cow Slaughter Act 2004, no one is allowed to transport cattle through Madhya Pradesh and a special permission from a competent authority is required by those who passed through the state while transporting their cattle.
“The buyers of bovines, especially farmers in MP, can approach the area Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) of the district and seek a no-objection certificate (NOC) with details of the number of cows and the route by which they will be carted out under the amendment,” said Yadav.
The SDM’s NOC would have to be pasted on the vehicle ferrying the cows, not numbering more than 25 at one go (time), purchased from other states as well,” he said.
There has been a spate of violent incidents involving cows ever since the BJP regained power at the Centre in 2014. Though Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been voicing his concern over the vested interests using cow protection laws to create a communal chasm, his warnings have gone unheard.
“I feel very angry because of the cow protection business. Some people have opened shops in the name of cow protection. Some people indulge in anti-social activities at night and become Gau Rakshaks (cow protectors) during the day. State governments should act against such people,” Modi had said.
BJP governments in most states have soft-pedalled the issue.
The Madhya Pradesh cabinet had already cleared the proposal for amendment last month. The state has witnessed several incidents even after the ascent of the Congress government where the vigilantes thrashed unsuspecting cow sellers for suspicion of carrying beef.