Gujarat to punish cow slaughter with life sentence
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Gandhinagar: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Gujarat on Friday enacted a harsher law, with the provision of life sentence for those found guilty of cow slaughter, making it the first state in the country to do so.
The state assembly cleared an amendment to the Gujarat Animal Preservation Act to make the law more stringent. The Act was last amended in 2011.
The amendment in the bill earlier introduced in the assembly on Friday called for the maximum punishment for cow slaughter to be 7 years imprisonment and a minimum of three years.
However, junior home minister Pradipsinh Jadeja sought another amendment to enhance the punishment to a life term for cow slaughter, which was adopted in the bill and passed by the House. According to this new provision, the minimum sentence would be 10 years imprisonment and a Rs5 lakh fine.
“During this auspicious occasion of Chhetri Navratri, the government has made amendments to the Gujarat Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act, 2011. This is the harshest law in the country,” said Jadeja.
When Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the chief minister of the Gujarat, the state government had imposed a complete ban on cow slaughter, transportation and sale of beef by amending the Gujarat Animal Preservation Act in 2011.
The move comes months ahead of the assembly polls slated to take place by the end of this year. Earlier this month, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani hinted that his government was thinking about introducing a Bill with stringent provisions to protect cows.
In a statement on the objective of the amendment bill, the government noted that “it is considered necessary to provide for more deterrent punishment for offences committed by contravening the provisions of the Act and also to make the offences cognizable and non-bailable”.
Another important provision is with regard to vehicles used for transportation of animals for slaughter. “The vehicles or any conveyance so seized under sub-section(3) shall stand forfeited to government in the manner as may be prescribed”, the amendment stated