The Haryana government has dismissed reports that capital punishment would be awarded for cow slaughter in State, though imprisonment of up to 10 years will be imposed.
Animal Husbandry Minister Om Prakash Dhankar clarified on Saturday that capital punishment was not on the cards. The government would bring the Gauvansh Sanrakshan and Gausamvardhan Bill, 2015, in the current session of the Assembly. “Laws across the country were studied for drafting this Bill. Ours would be a more stringent law than those of most other States and would provide a provision for 10 years’ imprisonment for cow slaughter,” he said.
Besides, the Minister said, sale of beef across Haryana would be banned. “Even sale of canned beef, which was allowed by the previous Congress government, would be banned,” he said. Vehicles used to transport cattle for slaughter or beef would be impounded.
The move is likely to affect the livelihood of a large number of people depending on butchery, especially in the minority-dominated Mewat district, for a livelihood and the cuisine and services of five-star hotels.
Announcing the coming ban on Friday, Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij said it would help protect cows. “Since cows represent a strong identity of our ancient culture, it is the duty of every single person to protect them,” he said.
Mr. Dhankar too said the idea behind the Bill was to protest and preserve cattle in the State. The government would also try to increase the milk output.
There were 18 lakh cows in homes and three lakh in gaushalas, besides 1.5 lakh stray cattle. Land was being identified for cattle shelters, and the government was planning to have most of them in the districts adjoining Rajasthan.
The Governor’s Address to the Assembly made clear the government’s intent to bring in legislation to protect cows, saying that “gaudhan” (cow wealth) was central to India’s great civilisation from the ancient Vedic times.
Haryana Education Minister Ram Bilas Sharma had observed that it was Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream to provide proper protection and care to cows. Mr. Sharma said that before the elections, the BJP had promised to ban slaughter of cow and sale of beef.