Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Monday said that the question of whether the state’s anti-cow slaughter law should be reviewed will be discussed in an upcoming Cabinet meeting, The Indian Express reported.
Addressing reporters, the chief minister noted that the Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Act of 1964 had permitted the slaughter of cattle above 12 years of age, barren cows and other cows not fit for agricultural purposes.
“They [the Bharatiya Janata Party] amended it once,” the Congress leader said. “We reverted it to the earlier provisions. They have amended it again. We will discuss it in the Cabinet meeting.”
The Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Act, 2020 – passed by the government led by BJP leader BS Yediyurappa – bans the sale, purchase and disposal of cattle for slaughter. The only exemptions are for terminally ill cattle and buffalos older than 13 years and certified by the authorities as fit for slaughter. The law provides for a maximum punishment of seven years’ imprisonment.
On June 3, state Animal Husbandry Minister K Venkatesh said that although the government had not yet decided on reviewing the law, it would discuss it and take a decision. “If buffaloes can be slaughtered, why not cows?” he asked, according to NDTV.
Several BJP leaders accused him of hurting Hindu beliefs. Former Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai urged Siddaramaiah to give “appropriate advice” to his Cabinet colleague.
“Animal Husbandry Minister K Venkatesh’s statement is shocking,” he said. “We condemn his statement. We Indians have an emotional connection with the cow and worship them as mother.”
BJP MLA Ashwath Narayan accused the Congress of trying to disturb communal harmony. “There’s no good reason for Congress to repeal the cow slaughter bill,” he said. “Congress is going against the sentiment of Hindus.”
The BJP has said that it will launch a statewide agitation if the Congress government attempts to change the law. Party leaders also held protests in part of the state on Monday.