The Karnataka High Court, today, was scheduled to hear Public Interest Litigations (PIL) that have been filed against the Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Ordinance, 2020 that has come into effect in the state from January 18, 2021.
Today the State Government of Karnataka submitted its response. The government in its response has said that there would be no coercive actions taken against the cattle transport till rules are made.
Both the PILs filed by Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) and Mohammed Arif Jameel against the ordinance will be heard by the Court on January 26, 2021.
The KRRS in its petition notes that the ordinance which is a law now was passed even though there existed no emergency.
This ordinance that repeals the Karnataka Prevention of Cow slaughter and Cattle Preservation Act, 1964, has introduced several more provisions in the Act entirely prohibiting cow slaughter and further incorporating stringent provisions such as 3-7 years of jail or/and steep fines up to Rs. 5,00,000/- and immense power has been entrusted upon the police to search, seize, and confiscate.
The petition filed by Jameel noted that the complete ban on the sale or purchase or resale of animals would cast a huge economic burden on farmers, cattle traders, who find it difficult to feed their children but would be required to feed the cattle as it is an offence under the law to starve an animal or failure to maintain it. The petition has also raised serious concerns regarding the rise of cow vigilantism in the state.
Cow Vigilantism and Government Amnesia
In the name of cow protection, the government seems to have conveniently forgotten the violence perpetrated by the cow vigilantes in the state.
According to a report by PUCL Mangalore and Karnataka Communal Harmony Forum, there are thirty cases of violence related to cow vigilantes in 2020 alone. Against the backdrop of such gruesome cow-related violence in various districts like Mangalore, Davangere, and even in Bangalore rural, one just wonders how is the government planning to keep a check on such violence.
As these PILs observe the law has no provision under which the perpetrators of such violence shall be punished. Just a day after the law came to effect, the Karnataka Animal husbandry minister Prabhu Chauhan speaking to the media said that a proposal is being mooted to withdraw cases against the cow vigilantes. He reportedly also said that the government also has plans to set up a dedicated war room to protect the cattle in the state.