Karnataka Congress questions why BJP is selective in implementing beef ban

In a press conference, former CM Siddaramaiah questioned why the BJP’s stance in Karnataka is diametrically opposite to that in Goa.
Former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah
Former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah
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Karnataka Congress leaders in a joint press conference on Friday said that the ruling BJP leaders must prove their "real commitment" to protecting cows by taking steps to ban beef export completely in the country, instead of adopting double standards by banning cow slaughter in select states. On December 9, the ruling BJP government in Karnataka passed the Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill 2020, which is one of the most stringent anti-beef laws passed in the country. The law defines beef as the flesh of any cattle, and those caught smuggling, illegally transporting, or involved in any atrocities against cows and cattle will be stringently punished. 

In the press conference in Bengaluru, Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah said that the BJP should have a uniform stance when it comes to matters like ban on cow slaughter. "The BJP's stand on cow slaughter ban is diametrically opposite in Goa state to what the party has taken here. In both the states it is the ruling party," he pointed out. He also claimed that the Congress will not have a problem if the BJP bans beef across the country, or even bans the export of beef completely. 

Siddaramaiah alleged that it is the BJP supporters who are among the leading beef exporters in the country, which is why the BJP does not take a firm stand on such issues. "The very premise of moving the contentious Bill two days ago is clear, they want to play emotional card in the ongoing two-phase gram panchayat polls slated for this month," he said.

Quoting prominent Hindu seer Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati, Siddaramaiah said that beef exports have risen since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government came to power in 2014. "So I demand, ban beef exports, bring uniform policy across the country," Siddaramaiah said. "In Goa, their own party is in power but do not talk a word about banning it, while in Karnataka, they have brought a most draconian and unscientific' Bill, why is this duplicity?" he asked.

The former Chief Minister added that in 2012-13, beef exports stood at 10.76 lakh tonnes, and rose to 14.75 lakh tonnes in 2014-15; the number hovered over 13 lakh tonnes in the subsequent three years. "Why the BJP has failed to control it? On one hand you give permits for exports and encourage making money from it, on the other hand you bring in such laws without proper thinking," he said, adding that the new law could lead to economic problems, unemployment and farmer distress.

The BJP hurriedly tabled the Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill 2020, which was passed by the assembly on Wednesday, amid stiff opposition led by the Congress. The Congress party eventually boycotted the remaining Legislature session.

The contentious Bill is yet to be tabled in the Legislative Council, which has been adjourned sine die. The state government is now mulling to make the Bill a law by bringing it through the ordinance route.

Terming the Bill as "draconian, unscientific and anti-farmer,” Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president D K Shivakumar demanded the state government to purchase and protect all unproductive cattle from farmers, to ease the pressure of nurturing them, instead of burdening the farmer community.


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