Assam assembly passes bill to regulate consumption, slaughter of cattle

The Assam assembly on August 13 passed the Assam Cattle Preservation Bill, 2021, which proposes to regulate slaughter, consumption and illegal transportation of cattle in the state.

The state assembly passed the controversial bill by a voice vote even as the opposition staged a walkout.

The ruling BJP members shouted ‘Bharat mata ki jai’ and ‘Jai Shree Ram’ slogans and thumped desks as soon as speaker Biswajit Daimary announced the bill as passed. The lone Independent legislator, Akhil Gogoi, had walked out of the House when the bill was taken up for consideration.

The opposition Congress, AIUDF and CPI (M) had urged the government to refer the bill to an assembly select committee for vetting, but chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, during his reply on a discussion on the legislation, rejected the proposal.

Sarma, in his response, said the bill had no bad intention and claimed it will strengthen communal harmony.

Lodging their protests, entire opposition members staged a walkout.

According to the bill, “no person shall directly sell or offer or expose for sale or buy beef products in any form except at places permitted to do so by the competent authority. Provided that no such permission shall be granted in such area or areas which are predominantly inhabited by Hindu, Jain Sikh and other non-beef eating communities or within a radius of 5 km of ant temple, satra (monastery) or other religious institutions belonging to Hindu religion or any other institutions or area as may be prescribed by the competent authority.”

The bill states that cattle can be slaughtered in Assam only with authorities’ permission and at a licensed slaughter house after government veterinary officers issue fitness certificates.

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