Senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah on Friday alleged BJP supporters were among the leading beef exporters in the country, as he attacked the ruling party in Karnataka over the contentious anti-cow slaughter bill, terming it "draconian and unscientific". Two days after the state assembly passed the bill that proposes a maximum of seven years' imprisonment and fine of Rs five lakh for the offenders amid a walkout by Congress, Siddaramiah also demanded a ban on beef exports and a uniform policy across the country.
"..those who are involved in beef exports are mostly from BJP, see their names, they are all BJP supporters," the Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly told reporters, listing out some names. Quoting a prominent Hindu seer Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati, Siddaramaiah said the beef exports have risen after the Narendra Modi government came to power in 2014 and gave figures for the last few years.
"So I demand, ban beef exports, bring uniform policy across the country," he said and asked as to why BJP was bringing in such laws in select states. He said in 2012-13 beef exports stood at 10.76 lakh tonnes and rose to 14.75 lakh tonnes in 2014-15 while it hovered over 13 lakh tonnes in the subsequent three years.
"Have they (BJP) controlled it. on one side you give permits for exports and encourage making money from it, on the other side you bring in such laws without proper thinking," he said adding if the ill effects were not addressed it will lead to economic problems, unemployment and farmer distress. The Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill was passed by the assembly on Wednesday, amid din and stiff opposition from Congress, which eventually staged a walkout.
As the bill is yet to be introduced in the legislative council, which has been adjourned sine die, the government is now mulling promulgating an ordinance to bring it into effect. Siddaramaiah described the legislation as draconian, unscientific and anti-farmer and said no study was undertaken on its social or economic impact.
"Bring a policy for the whole country, before that constitute an expert committee, let the Centre do it, let their report about the social and economic impact of such a decision be placed before the people, let there be discussion…," he said. The former Chief Minister said let the government purchase the unproductive cattle or the ones that were not used for agriculture purposes instead of putting the burden on farmers.
He also raised apprehension that the bill, if implemented, may legalise lynching. Siddaramiah expressed displeasure over the manner in which the bill was introduced and passed in the assembly on the same day without discussion.