Dubai- The Gujarat state on Friday passed a Bill that increased the punishment for cow slaughter from the present seven-year jail term to life imprisonment.
Gujarat now has the toughest law against cow slaughter in the country. The state elections will be held later this year in Gujarat.
“During this auspicious occasion of Hindu festival of Chhetri Navratri, the state government, on suggestions of several saints, has made amendments to the Gujarat Animal Protection (Amendment) Act, 2011. This is the harshest law in the country,” Minister of State for Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja told media.
It is reported that the minimum jail term for illegal ferrying of cows for slaughter has been raised from seven to ten years against the current provision of three to seven years. The monetary penalty has also been increased from Rs50,000 (Dh2,830) to Rs100,000.
The Bill also allows police to acquire the forfeited vehicles seized for illegal ferrying of cattle. Earlier, the police had to release the vehicles after six months of registering the complaint.
The Bill also makes offences under the Gujarat Animal Preservation Act 1954 cognisable and non-bailable.
“The state government had enacted the Gujarat Animal Preservation Act 1954 for the preservation of milch animals, and for cattle that are suitable for breeding or agricultural purposes. In 2011, the state government had imposed a complete ban on slaughtering and transportation of cow and progeny by amending the Gujarat Animal Preservation Act, 1954. However, the government felt the need for more stringent provisions to curb cow slaughter,” Jadeja explained.
The Bill was passed by majority votes in the absence of opposition members.
“The law itself needed to be revised for effectively checking the use of vehicles for transporting animals to slaughter. This could only be achieved by amending section 6A and 6B of the law to allow the government to permanently acquire the vehicle or any means of transport used for carrying cattle, beef or beef products,” state Chief Minister Vijay Rupani told reporters.
Congress said the Bill was passed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led state government to garner votes in the upcoming elections.