Amid a walkout staged by the Opposition, the Assam Cattle Preservation Invoice, 2021 — which prohibits the sale and buy of beef in areas inhabited by non-beef-eating communities and inside a radius of 5 km of a temple or a satra (Vaishnavite monastery) — was handed within the state Meeting Friday on the final day of the continued Funds session.

The brand new laws will repeal the Assam Cattle Preservation Act, 1950 and is geared toward regulating “slaughter, consumption, unlawful transportation” of cattle. It additionally prohibits the inter-state transport of cattle to and from, in addition to via Assam with out legitimate paperwork — a clause that was included ostensibly to examine cattle smuggling to Bangladesh, which shares a 263-kilometre-long border with Assam.

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma termed the passing of the Invoice as “historic”. In a Twitter put up on Friday evening, he wrote: “Extraordinarily completely satisfied and proud to meet our ballot promise with the passing of historic Assam Cattle Preservation Act, 2021. I’m certain this may deal a heavy blow to the unlawful cattle commerce & transit via Assam, guaranteeing due care of cattle as practised in our custom for ages.”

On Friday, the Opposition Congress, AIUDF and CPI (M) proposed at the least 75 amendments and requested the federal government to refer the invoice to an Meeting choose committee for additional dialogue, however Sarma rejected the proposal. In protest, the Opposition walked out after which the Invoice was handed by voice vote. After Speaker Biswajit Daimary introduced the invoice as handed, slogans of ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ and ‘Jai Shree Ram’ had been heard from the BJP MLAs within the Home.

Sarma had launched the Invoice within the Meeting on July 12, saying that the 1950 Act lacked “enough authorized provisions” to control slaughter, consumption and the transportation of cattle and thus it was crucial to enact a brand new laws.

Chief of the Opposition Debabrata Saikia of Congress mentioned that the laws would have an effect on the livelihoods of the “poorest of the poor” and thus it wanted to be referred to a choose committee for additional discussions.

AIUDF MLA from Dhing, Aminul Islam additionally pushed for a number of amendments, saying that in response to a 2020 survey, there have been 1,09,09,327 cows in Assam. “So cows usually are not even endangered…that it requires such a tricky laws to guard them,” he mentioned, including that there will probably be “enormous socio-economic losses to those that rear cows.” He additionally added that the 5km rule was nearly as good as saying that there must be no beef consumption/cow slaughter in all the state.

“We recognize the spirit behind the clause that claims there must be no slaughter the place non-beef consuming communities reside. However the 5 km rule is problematic. There isn’t a place in Assam that may fulfill these situations. The federal government would possibly as effectively have mentioned that the slaughter is banned throughout the state,” he mentioned.

Sarma mentioned that the 5 km rule gained’t apply to all “sorts of temples.” “There will probably be guidelines…this may solely apply to temples that exist as of at this time, when the Invoice is being handed. It doesn’t imply that if somebody simply identifies a spot close to a tree and calls it a ‘temple’, it’ll come below the purview of this clause. We can have guidelines that may outline what sort of temple…temples which are centuries-old, temples which can come up in locations the place there may be archaeological proof and so forth…”

Sarma mentioned that the laws is meant to extend concord and brotherhood between the 2 communities, and was not geared toward “limiting anybody from consuming beef.”

“It has no unhealthy intention — all we’re saying is that don’t eat beef the place Hindus and Jains reside, or inside 5 km radius of a temple,” he mentioned, including that almost all communal tensions reported both in Barak Valley districts and Decrease Assam since 2015 have been related to beef.

“Many such incidents have occurred as a result of beef has been present in temples. That’s the reason we’ve proposed that it’s eaten 5 km away from the temple. We’re not limiting your proper to eat, we’re doing it to extend concord between Hindus and Muslims,” he mentioned.

Sarma additionally mentioned that the onus of sustaining communal concord shouldn’t be simply on the Hindus. “Muslims should additionally reciprocate and keep in mind Hindu sensitivities,” he mentioned. “Now if at this time the Opposition had mentioned that the rule must be 6 km and never 5 km, it might have ushered a brand new chapter within the state’s communal concord.” “All I’m asking is to simply depart 5 km for us…you have got each proper to eat it in every single place else…I will probably be grateful if you happen to don’t however I’ll by no means cease you from consuming it. I respect your rights,” mentioned Sarma.

Sarma, nonetheless, accepted an modification moved by AIUDF’s Islam to take away ‘buffaloes’ from the definition within the Invoice. When it was proposed, the Invoice didn’t distinguish between totally different cattle sorts and had mentioned it might apply to all cattle that features “bulls, bullocks, cows, heifer, calves, female and male buffaloes and buffalo calves.” After the modification, buffaloes will probably be faraway from the definition.

Responding to Congress’s opposition, Sarma mentioned that the primary Chief Minister of Assam Gopinath Bordoloi (from Congress) had launched the Act in 1950.

“Now we have not added something new on this Invoice…even within the 1950 Act it mentioned that cattle couldn’t be slaughtered earlier than the age of 14. Now we have simply added {that a} cow can’t be slaughtered, no matter age. So the operative level is identical,” he mentioned, including: “Aside from that, we’ve mentioned that cattle shouldn’t be killed outdoors slaughter homes — whereas the 1950 Act mentioned cattle shouldn’t be killed outdoors the ‘place prescribed.’ Now we have added two extra factors —cattle can’t be transported via Assam (with out legitimate paperwork) and the 5 km rule.”

The brand new legislation additionally says that anyone discovered responsible might be jailed for a minimal time period of three years (extendable as much as eight years) and fined Rs 3 lakh (with the higher restrict Rs 5 lakh), or each. For repeat offenders, the punishment will probably be doubled. Nevertheless, it permits for sure exemptions — it gained’t apply to “spiritual events” when “slaughter of cattle, not being a cow or heifer or calf” is allowed.

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