Union Minister for Coal and Mines and Karnataka MP Pralhad Joshi on Wednesday said that the BJP government in Karnataka will consult the people of the state before implementing a law on cow slaughter, including sale and possession of beef.
"Cow slaughter ban has been there in many states. In Karnataka, it is yet to be decided, but if it is decided also, it will be as per the feelings of many people in Karnataka," Pralhad said speaking at a press conference in Goa.
He is the latest BJP leader from Karnataka to discuss the introduction of a law to prevent the slaughter of cows after other leaders like Deputy Chief Minister Ashwath Narayan, Tourism and Kannada Culture Minister CT Ravi, Mangaluru South MLA Vedavyas Kamath and Udupi MLA Raghupathi Bhat.
"There is nothing new we are introducing. There is a law in place already and if there are amendments to be introduced, we will do it but the first priority is to implement the laws in place. The slaughter of cows should not take place," Deputy Chief Minister Ashwath Narayan said.
This comes a week after it was reported that the BJP government in Karnataka was discussing a petition to introduce a bill to ban the sale and possession of beef in Karnataka.
BJP endorses Gandhi's principle on cow slaughter
Pralhad Joshi stated that the BJP will follow Mahatma Gandhi's teachings as far as the principle of cow slaughter is concerned. "We endorse the stand of Mahatma Gandhi," Pralhad added.
However, while Mahatma Gandhi supported the protection of cows, he had firmly opposed the introduction of a ban on cow slaughter. According to an excerpt from Gandhiâ€™s prayer discourse of July 25, 1947, from the Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Volume 88, as published online by the Gandhi Heritage Portal, he said, "In India no law can be made to ban cow-slaughter. I do not doubt that Hindus are forbidden the slaughter of cows. I have been long pledged to serve the cow but how can my religion also be the religion of the rest of the Indians? It will mean coercion against those Indians who are not Hindus".
The recent petition submitted by the Karnataka BJP's cow protection cell to Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa demanded a blanket ban on cow slaughter in the state. The petitioners sought to re-introduce the Karnataka Prevention of Cow Slaughter and Cattle Preservation Bill, 2010. The BJP had introduced the bill in Karnataka in 2010 but it did not become an Act because it did not receive the then Governor HR Bharadwaj's assent. It was later revoked by the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government after it came to power in 2013.
Currently in Karnataka, there is a ban on cattle slaughter in Karnataka according to an older law - the Karnataka Prevention of Cow Slaughter and Cattle Preservation Act 1964. However, this act bans the slaughter and sale of cows, calves and she-buffaloes and allows slaughter of bulls, bullocks and male-buffaloes. It also allows slaughter of female buffaloes aged above twelve years, or are no longer fit for breeding or cannot give milk.