Karnataka’s regressive cattle bill

One of India’s most progressive states, Karnataka has passed the Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill, 2020, in the assembly on 9 December. The BJP-led government passed the bill amid strong opposition from the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular). The bill is regressive in nature and can be potentially used to harass the innocent people. The bill envisages a ban on all forms of cattle slaughter and stringent punishment for the offenders.

Many of the provisions of the bill are harsh and are deeply worrying. It goes against the democratic norms of the country. A part of the bill, which allows search and seizure by a police officer of the rank of sub-inspector and above, has people worried over potential harassment and abuse. This provision can be easily misused to harass the innocent public.

Also, the punishment under this bill is very stringent. The violators can attract three to seven years of imprisonment. While a penalty between Rs 50,000 and Rs 5 lakhs can be levied for the first offence, second and subsequent offences can attract penalties ranging between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 10 lakhs. The bill has been passed by the BJP, especially targeting the minority communities, and to appease the majority.

However it is going to hurt the farmers too. People involved in the meat industry will now be reluctant to buy cow, buffalo, etc, from farmers. It is a common practice that farmers usually dispose of those animals that are old and are of no use for them. Also, Karnataka is considered as a progressive state as its capital Bengaluru is the IT hub of India. This kind of law is going to hurt its image and keep foreign investors out.