THERE WAS a heated exchange of words in Punjab Vidhan Sabha on Thursday over a resolution moved by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) legislators on the issue of stray cattle as three party MLAs sought to protect indigenous (desi) breed of cows and send stray bulls of American/Holstein Friesians breed to slaughter houses.
Rebel AAP MLA Kanwar Sandhu called the resolution a ‘CAA’ for animals and said it was “discriminatory” by nature.
AAP MLA Aman Arora, who was among the MLAs who moved the resolution, suggested DNA testing to differentiate between desi and American cows.
During a debate on the resolution, Congress legislator Amarinder Singh Raja Warring mooted the idea to “maintain a register on the lines of the National Register for Citizens (NRC) by carrying out population census of stray and pet animals”.
Warring also suggested that there should be a law to punish those who abandon cattle after they stop giving milk. He suggested a punishment of six months and no bail for the first 15 days after arrest under the legislation he proposed. He also said that sale and death certificates of cattle should be issued.
BJP legislator Arun Narang said that he could never think of killing any animal and proposed that more funds should be provided to cow sheds in order take care of stray cattle.
Akali Dal MLA Gurpartap Singh Wadala, while opposing the AAP resolution, said it was an attempt to conduct “breed profiling” on the lines of “racial profiling”. Akali MLA N K Sharma said the resolution was brought to “hurt the religious feelings of people of Punjab” and that “AAP had murdered the religious feelings of people by bringing in the resolution…This is not Saudi Arabia”.
After three hours of discussion, the debate was still on when the House was adjourned for Friday.
Arora said there were 2.5 lakh stray cattle in Punjab, adding that, “A hundred and fifty deaths took place every year due to accidents caused by stray cattle and there was an agriculture loss of Rs 200 crore.”
The AAP MLA said there was a need to differentiate between the desi and American cow. Claiming that desi cow’s milk was more nutritious, he suggested DNA testing, adding that “desi cows should be protected and American cows should be sent to slaughterhouses”. He further said that desi cow was of “thandi taseer” (cold temperament) and the American cow was of “garam taseer” (hot temperament).
The MLA said five member block level committees should be formed across the state with local officials from civil administrative, police, cow board, Punjab Diary Farmers Association and animal husbandry department to certify a cow as American breed following which permission should be given for their trade and transportation.
Arora said American breed of cows came during the White Revolution to increase milk production.
He said they were not here when the Punjab Population of Cow Slaughter Act 1955 came into existence. He added that the Act still had a clause which allowed slaughter of a cow in “self-defence”.
As Arora talked about block level committees for implementation of the resolution, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Brahm Mohindra said, “I would request to get it implemented in Delhi and we would follow.”
AAP MLA Sandhwan said he had himself met with accidents four times due to stray cattle, adding that “human life was most important”.