After the Gujarat Assembly on Friday passed an amendment bill prescribing life imprisonment for those found guilty of slaughtering cows, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said that he wants to make Gujarat a "vegetarian" state.
A report in The Indian Express said that while Rupani said that he was "not against any food", he wanted to make Gujarat "shakahari (vegetarian)". "We do not want Jersey cows, but Gir and Kankreji cows instead," the report quoted him as saying.
Rupani then went on to describe Gujarat as a "unique state", which followed the principles of Mahatma Gandhi — "non-violence and truth". "This is Gandhi’s Gujarat, Sardar’s (Vallabhbhai Patel) Gujarat and (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi’s Gujarat," the report further quoted him as saying.
The Gujarat Animal Preservation (Amendment) Bill also has a provision for ten-year imprisonment for transportation, storage or sale of beef. It provides for permanent forfeiture of vehicles involved in transportation of progeny of cows and beef.
The bill also bans transportation of animals from one place to another in night.
The bill, which seeks to amend the Gujarat Animal Preservation Act, 1954, by introducing stringent punishments, was passed in the absence of Congress MLAs, who were suspended for a day for creating ruckus in the House.
Introducing the bill, state Home Minister Pradeepsinh Jadeja had said, "Cows not just have religious significance, they also have an economic significance in our society. It is utmost necessary to increase the punishment to deter those involved in slaughtering of cows."
As per the bill, those involved in the slaughter of cows, calves, bulls and bullocks, would face imprisonment up to life, but not less than ten years.
In the present Act, which was amended in 2011, the maximum jail term for such acts was seven years, but not less than three years.
The bill also proposes imprisonment up to 10 years, but not less then seven years, for those found to be involved in transportation, sale and storage of beef. Earlier, the maximum punishment for the same was three years.
In 2011, when Narendra Modi was the Chief Minister of Gujarat, the state government had imposed a complete ban on slaughter of cows, transportation and selling of cow meat by amending the said Act.
Since then, the crimes related to cow slaughter in the state are covered under the Gujarat Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act of 2011.
Under this Act, those found involved in slaughtering cows and related crimes are fined Rs 50,000, besides the jail term up to seven years.
In another change, the Gujarat Animal Preservation (Amendment) Bill also proposes that all offences shall be considered cognisable as well as non-bailable. In the present Act, such offences are considered only "cognisable" and not "non-bailable".
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Apr 01, 2017 09:28 AM