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Saturday, June 3, 2023

“Will repeal anti-conversion & cow slaughter laws”, Siddaramaiah’s promise if Congress wins in Karnataka

Congress leader and former Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah has assured that cow slaughter and anti-conversion laws will be repealed if Congress comes to power. He said this in an interview with The News Minute claiming that farmers, minority communities, and backward communities were not living happily under the BJP rule due to such laws.

The TNM report on what Siddaramaiah commented about the cow slaughter and anti-conversion laws quoted him as saying, “Article 21 of the Constitution already gives everyone the freedom to choose their religion and to follow any religion they want. This [the law passed by the BJP] has been done to erase the minorities. If we come to power, we will restore it to whatever the law said earlier.”

As per the Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Act 2022, any converted person, his parents, brother, sister or any other person who is related to him by blood, marriage, or adoption or in any form associated, or colleague may lodge a complaint of such conversion which contravenes the provisions. The offense is made to be non-bailable and cognizable offense.

If any institution violates the act, imprisonment of up to five years with a fine of Rs 25,000 is prescribed. Victims are entitled to a grant of appropriate compensation by the accused up to Rs 5 lakh under the act. If the accused repeats the offence, a jail term of not less than five years and a fine of Rs 2 lakh can be awarded as punishment as per the anti-conversion law.

Commenting about the stringent anti-cow slaughter law brought by the BJP government, Siddaramaiah said, “The Cow Slaughter Bill was brought unnecessarily. It brought injustice to those who rear cattle. We will bring back the 1964 Act if we come to power.” The Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Act, 2020 is a revised version of a Bill that was passed in 2010 when the BJP was in power. Under the new law cattle has been designated as “cow, calf of a cow and bull, bullock and he or she buffalo” and their slaughter is banned. 

The only exemptions under the 2020 Bill are buffaloes above the age of 13 years and certified by a competent authority, cattle used in medical research, cattle certified for slaughter by a veterinarian to prevent spread of a disease, and very sick cattle. The punishment was increased to three to seven years of jail or fines ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 5 lakh or both under the new law.

When Congress was in power before BJP, the then CM Siddarmaiah had then reverted to the less stringent Karnataka Prevention of Cow Slaughter and Preservation of Animals Act, 1964, which allowed cow slaughter with certain restrictions. He has promised the same now by assuring that things will go back to how they used to earlier. Siddarmaiah has repeated many times that he likes eating beef despite being a Hindu.

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