On Thursday, the Karnataka government approved the establishment of gaushalas in all districts of the state at a total cost of Rs 15 crore for phase 1. This move is to supplement the Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Act, 2020. The Cattle Bill aims to ban all forms of cattle slaughter with stringent punishment for offenders who will be fined Rs 5 Lakh.
“The cabinet has decided to release additional funds (for the gaushalas), depending on the progress of the work,” As per Basvaraj Bommai who is Karnataka’s Minister for Home, Law and Parliamentary Affairs.
The Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill, 2020 was passed in December 2020. The bill received strong opposition from the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) in the state legislative Assembly. Bommai, at the time, had stated that the government would increase the capacity of existing 184 cattle shelters to 200,000. As per the Bill, cattle shelters, established for the protection and preservation of cattle, registered with the Dept. of Animal Husbandry and Fisheries will be labelled as ‘gaushalas’.
A complete ban on the sale or purchase or resale of animals would have terrible economic repercussions on farmers and cattle traders. Additionally, in the name of cow protection, the government fails to acknowledge the rising numbers in relation to cow vigilantism in the state. Such laws only embolden mobs and ‘cow protection’ groups to carry out violence against people from marginalised communities many of which consume beef and deal in cattle trade.
According to a report by PUCL Mangalore and Karnataka Communal Harmony Forum, there are thirty cases of violence related to cow vigilantes in 2020. Cow related violence in districts such as Mangalore, Davangere, and even in Bangalore rural have only been increasing.