The Karnataka government on Monday pushed the controversial Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill, 2020, through the legislative council amid Opposition uproar over the lack of an extended debate and denial of calls for reference to a select committee to address Opposition’s concerns over the Bill being “anti-farmer”.
Newly elected deputy chairman M K Pranesh of BJP, who is officiating in the Council after resignation of chairman K Prathapchandra Shetty last week, put the Bill to vote even as Opposition leaders tore up copies of the proposed law and flung it in air. They entered the well of the House against Pranesh’s decision to not allow an extended debate on the Bill.
The Bill was passed with a voice vote amid the pandemonium.
The Bill, which envisages a total ban on all cattle slaughter, was passed in the state Assembly on December 9 last year amid Opposition protest but was not tabled in the Council since BJP did not control the Upper House then. On Monday, with the Council coming under its grip after JD(S) last week supported ouster of chairman Prathapchandra Shetty (Congress), and facilitated Pranesh’s election, the Bill was introduced in the House by Animal Husbandry Minister Prabhu Chavan.
The Bill was tactically introduced on Monday since election for the new Legislative Council chairman will be held on Tuesday, where BJP is set to support JD(S) nominee Basavaraj Horatti -- in return for JD(S) support during the deputy chairman's election. JD(S) has taken a stand to not support the Bill, and its MLCs such as Thippeswamy on Monday asked for it to be referred to a select committee. JD(S) has 13 MLCs in the 75-member Council, BJP has 31 and Congress 29. There one Independent and one seat is vacant.
After Pranesh allowed a debate on the Bill, Congress leaders such as C M Ibrahim, B K Hariprasad, Nasir Ahmed and S Ravi opposed it and Thippeswamy of JD(S) asked that it be referred to a select committee to iron out concerns of farmers with the new law.
Ibrahim argued that BJP, in trying to target a minority community with the new law, would end up targeting the state’s agricultural economy.
Hariprasad said the Bill is ill-conceived and brought only to fulfil BJP’s ideological agenda. He said BJP has two standards for cattle slaughter: while it supports slaughter in states like Kerala, Goa, Manipur and Meghalaya, it opposes the same in other states.
Nasir Ahmed argued that the Bill would give “gau rakshaks” immunity to attack anyone in the guise of cattle protection, while Ravi said it is “anti farmer”and would destroy the rural economy in the long run.