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New cattle bill in Assam dictated by RSS: Cong

New cattle bill in Assam dictated by RSS: Cong

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Guwahati, Jul 13: The new cattle Bill presented by Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma is a "copy-paste" of the ordinance on cow protection introduced by the BJP in Uttar Pradesh which has been unnecessarily pushed in Assam on behalf of the RSS, senior Congress leader Gaurav Gogoi said on Tuesday.

The key provisions of the Assam Cattle Preservation Bill 2021, introduced in the state legislative assembly on Monday, are already present in the earlier law enacted in 1950 and there was no need for a new legislation, the Congress Lok Sabha MP said while addressing a press conference here.

He further said that the legislation is meant to cover-up the state government's failure in COVID management.

"All the key provisions of this Bill are already present in the existing law of 1950. Why was that not amended if needed, and implemented properly?

"Where is the need for a new law? The Government does not need a new law to tackle the problem of cow smuggling," he said.

This bill is nothing but a "ploy to divert attention from the government's failure in COVID management and vaccinating people in the state", son of veteran Congress leader Tarun Gogoi and MP from Kaliabor, added.

"It is a copy-paste job of the ordinance on cow protection that the BJP introduced in UP. The bill has been introduced by the chief minister at the behest of the RSS.

Nagpur is directly dictating terms in Assam", Gogoi alleged.

He said the Congress has since long been highlighting the need for protection of cows and also regularly raised the issue of illegal cow syndicate flourishing in Assam under the BJP government.

The party in its 2021 assembly election manifesto had promised construction of 'gaushalas' in every district, he said.

The people of Assam have always revered the cow and celebrate "goru-bihu" during the Rongali Bihu festival and "in fact this aspect of our culture should be taken to all parts of India", Gogoi asserted.

Besides, the bill, if converted into an Act, will be misused, and sound the death-knell for thousands of dairy farmers and cooperatives in the state.

"These cooperatives will not be able to take care of the aged cows that have stopped producing milk and will create an environment of harassment when farmers want to purchase cattle", he said.

The bill has no mention of how to increase dairy production, create more cooperatives, production units and other important aspects, the Congress Deputy Leader in the Lok Sabha said.

The Congress when in power in the state, on the other hand, had brought a World Bank project to Assam to promote dairy production, Gogoi claimed.

The bill introduced in the state assembly seeks to regulate the slaughter, consumption and transportation of cattle by repealing the earlier Assam Cattle Preservation Act, 1950, which the chief minister claimed lacks sufficient legal provisions to deal with these issues.

The new legislation will also prohibit granting of permission in those areas which are predominantly inhabited by Hindu, Jain, Sikh and other non-beef eating communities or within a radius of 5 kms of any temple, sattra, or any other institution or area as may be prescribed by the competent authority.

The state government may, however, exempt certain places of worship or certain occasions for slaughter of cattle other than calf, heifer and cow for religious purposes.

The new legislation will also prohibit transport of any cattle without valid permit from any place of Assam to any other district and it also prohibits transportation from any place within the state of Assam to any place outside the state where slaughter of cattle is not regulated by law.

All offences under this Act shall be cognizable and non-bailable.

Anybody found guilty of slaughter, consumption or transportation of cattle shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than three years and with fine which shall not be less than Rs three lakh and may extend to Rs five lakh or with both with the punishment double the punishment for the second and subsequent conviction.

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