Assam passed Cattle Preservation Bill

Assam Assembly passed the “Assam Cattle Preservation Bill, 2021” on August 13, 2021.

About the bill

  • Assam Cattle Preservation Bill, 2021 prohibits the sale and purchase of beef in areas inhabited by non-beef-eating communities.
  • It also prohibits the sale and purchase of beef within a radius of 5 km of a temple or a satra (Vaishnavite monastery).
  • This bill will repeal the Assam Cattle Preservation Act, 1950.
  • It was passed with the aim of regulating “slaughter, consumption, illegal transportation” of cattle.
  • It prohibits inter-state transport of cattle to/from and through Assam without any valid documents. This clause was included ostensibly to look after cattle smuggling to Bangladesh.

Background

The bill was introduced in the Assembly July 12, citing that, the 1950 Act lacked “sufficient legal provisions” of regulating slaughter, consumption and the transportation of cattle. Thus, the new legislation was the need of the hour.

Provision of fine under new law

According to the new law, anybody who are found to be guilty will be jailed for a minimum term of three years which can be extended for eight years. Provision of Rs 3 lakh is also there, which can be extended up to Rs 5 lakh. For repeat offenders, punishment will be doubled. However, law will not be applied to “religious occasions”. On such occasion, slaughter of cattle excluding cow, heifer and calf, is allowed.

Why Cattle slaughter is controversial in India?

Cattle slaughter, particularly cow slaughter, is controversial in India. This is because of cattle’s traditional status as a respected and endeared living being in Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, Buddhism, and Zoroastrianism. On the other hand, it is considered an acceptable source of meat by Muslims, Christians and other non-Dharmic Religions like Animists and non-Indian Zoroastrians. Legislation against cattle slaughter is in place in most of the Indian states except in Kerala, Goa, West Bengal, and Northeast India.

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