Cow bill in RS sees passionate debate, sarcasm

Snap ties with countries that slaughter cows. Declare cow as national animal. Go in for a study whether there is any difference in milk and urine of cows and other animals.

From subtle sarcasm to efforts to delink religion from cow protection, the discussion on the private members bill moved by BJP MP Subramanian Swamy seeking imposition of death penalty on cow slaughterers in Rajya Sabha on Friday saw passionate speeches from all hues of political spectrum.

However, Swamy withdrew it at the end of the debate on an assurance from Agriculture Minister Radhamohan Singh that the government is taking steps for protection and promotion of cows.

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While BJP MPs stuck to the economic benefits of cow and their support for ‘The Cow Protection Bill, 2017’, the opposition MPs constantly referred to cow vigilante groups, lynching and efforts to polarise communities.

Swamy said,”it is the British who made this cow-cutting as a part of our regular fashionable cuisine and that is how it became prevalent in our country. I would say why I am particularly keen is not the religious angle alone, that is part of it, but the fact is now modern science has shown that cow has multiple uses.”

Detailing why he wanted death penalty for cow slaughter, he said cow meat has such high export values and there is a need to have an “extraordinarily harsh, deterrent and pungent punishment”.

In a counter to Swamy, Samajwadi Party MP Javed Ali Khan said it should be declared a national animal and it should be ensured that the animal is not “misused” for realising any political aspirations.

“When the previous American (president Barack Obama) came, our Prime Minister was in an embrace for minutes. Same happened when the new American (president Donald Trump) came. When the Israeli (Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu) came, he was not ready to leave the hands. Issue them a warning…If you eat cow meat or indulge in meat business, you are our enemy and snap ties with those countries,” Khan said in a speech laced with sarcasm.

His speech invited immediate objections from Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, who said that such an important issue was being “made fun of”.

BJP Meghraj Jain said the issue was not related to religion but economic and called for a government-sponsored study to establish whether cow milk and urine have any special attributes compared to other animals. CPI’s D Raja said cow is now being used as a weapon of hate and of killing citizens and warned that the bill would encourage mob lynching.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Feb 3, 2018)

Pix courtesy: Youtube

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