Swamy wants death penalty for cow slaughter

After Ram temple, controversial BJP MP Subramanian Swamy has taken up another pet Hindutva theme of cow protection and now wants death penalty for those slaughtering the animal.

Swamy will introduce a private member’s bill, The Cow Protection Bill 2017, in Rajya Sabha on Friday, insisting the need for a law to ban the slaughter of all cows “as wished by Mahatma Gandhi and an imperative for free independent India”.

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The bill intends to create a National Cow Protection Authority to ensure stabilisation of population of cows. The Authority should suggest measures to comply with Articles 37 and Article 48 of the Constitution to ban the slaughter of cows and to provide for deterrent punishment, including death penalty, for slaughter of cow.

The Authority, which is headed by Secretary of Department of Animal Husbandry and have five persons of eminence in the fields of agricultural economics, animal welfare and ancient Indian history or culture as members, should ndertake a baseline study to collect data about cow population and to formulate a Qualitative Cow Dignity Index.

The Article 37 says the provisions in Directive Princiles would not be enforced by the court but these are nevertheless fundamental in the governance of the country and would be the duty of the State to apply these principles. The Article 48 recommends prohibition of slaughter of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle.

Swamy wants this provision on cow slaughter be implemented by enacting a law covering the whole country. The reports and suspicion about slaughter of cow and beef eating have resulted in violence in some parts of the country and snowballed into a controversy with Dalits and Muslims feeling the heat.

The Bill defines cow protection as a total ban in any form of injury of slaugter or enforced starvation of the breed of Indian cow. It wants the Authority to formulate schemes to provide for healthy cows and calves and recommend to the central government, deterrent penalties including death penalty to who commit offences against cows.

It should also frame syallabus for awareness about importance of cow protection and development all over the country as well as conduct awareness campaigns about medical imperatives for improving health of cows and calves.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Mar 24, 2017)

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