Bharatiya Janata Party MLAs cornered the ruling Congress government on the issue of cow slaughter, resulting in pandemonium for some time in the Rajasthan Vidhan Sabha on Wednesday.

The Opposition MLAs charged the government with being soft on cow slaughter and with ignoring the smuggling of “godhan” (cow wealth) out of the State.

“Smuggling of cows and cow slaughter are on the rise in Rajasthan. Districts like Churu, Sikar, Bharatpur, Alwar and Udaipur have emerged as the central areas of cow trade,” BJP MLA Rajendra Rathore said during question hour.

“The police, when they apprehend cow smugglers, just book them under the Animal Cruelty Act and they easily get bail. The State government is allowing all this to happen,” said Mr. Rathore.

He demanded that cases of cow trade and cow slaughter be booked under the Rajasthan Bovine Animal (Prohibition of Slaughter and Regulation of Temporary Migration or Export) Act, 1995.

Mr. Rathore cited several media reports regarding a publication by the Union Ministry of Minority Affairs, which promoted eating of beef.

However, Deputy Speaker Ramnarayan Meena, while admitting the seriousness of the matter, refused to entertain the MLA’s charges merely on the basis of media reports, and asked him to furnish a copy of the publication.

On hearing this reply, almost the full team of BJP MLAs rushed to the well of the House, shouting slogans against the “cow-killer” Congress government.

Responding to the Opposition’s charges, Minister of State for Home Affairs Virendra Beniwal assured the House of determined and focused action against illegal cow trade.

“Whenever any such information is received, the police and the administration always act promptly,” said Mr. Beniwal.

“In the year 2012, compared to the previous year, 52 per cent more cases were registered. Besides, we are keeping an account of such activities in certain specific locations,” he said.