According to the Assam government, the state’s cattle-protection law will also help avoid beef-related conflicts. “We have moved this bill on the first day of the assembly session and the intervening period was of almost 30 days. We were ready to consider all the amendments. In fact for one-two amendments, however, the opposition could not present them with proper facts,” Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said.
“Our cattle bill is nothing but improvement of the 1950 bill of the then Congress government,” he said. “The bill is inspired by Article 48 and thoughts of Mahatma Gandhi,” he added.
The Assam assembly passed a bill today to regulate cattle slaughter, eating, and transportation, despite opposition parties walking out in protest of the government’s unwillingness to send the bill to a select committee. The Assam Cattle Preservation Bill, 2021, has been passed, according to Speaker Biswajit Daimary.
“As the bill has been passed today, no cattle slaughter, sale and consumption of beef can take place within 5 km radius of any temple or monastery. Wherever there are substantial Hindu, Jain, Sikh or people of other non-beef eating community live, beef cannot be consumed,” according to the Chief Minister. The state administration has entirely restricted cow migration outside the boundaries of a district.
If inter-district transportation of cattle is required for farming purposes, the government’s approval must be obtained.
“We should follow Gandhi ji and Article 48 – right to food habit or liberty of food habit, but in case of a conflict between fundamental right and directive principles, according to Supreme Court judgement, the directive principles would prevail,” Mr Sarma said.
“Most of the communal clashes in last five years or beyond that period basically centred around beef. Now, if a beef-eating person is not allowed to consume it within 5 km of a non-beef eating community, then there will be no conflict,” the Chief Minister said.
“In Uttar Pradesh, there is a total prohibition on beef, and in Assam we have regulated the sale of beef as in Assam 36 per cent people consume it,” Mr Sarma said, adding that movement of cattle or beef to other north-east states would continue, but only with the permission of the state government concerned.