Bhopal: The Madhya Pradesh government was unable to pass the bill that sought to amend a BJP-era law on cow vigilantism after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLAs raised objections to it.
The bill was sent to a select committee after BJP lawmakers said in its present form, the bill seemed to be in favour of those engaged in cow slaughter and sought to penalise those who would tried to prevent it.
The proposed amendment bill seeks to criminalise violent cow vigilantism and has harsh penal punishments for those attacking people involved in cattle transportation.
Speaking during the debate over the bill on Wednesday, former home minister Bhupendra Singh said the original act had the provision of mandatory permit for transportation of cows, but the amendment sought to make it optional.
Claiming that the amendment would only see a rise in illegal cow slaughter, Singh said this could disturb social harmony in the state. “In the present form, it seems the Congress government is planning to shelter those engaged in cow slaughter,” he added.
Also, the bill only talked about cow vigilantism and there was no mention of other kinds of lynching such as attacks over suspicions of child-lifter, rapes or vehicle thefts, the BJP leader said, adding the Supreme Court had asked states to frame laws to prevent mob lynching.
Former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said the amendment would ensure smooth transport of cows by smugglers to slaughter houses. “Gaushalas won’t be required then as no cows would be left,” he added.
Chouhan urged the Congress government not to target gau-rakshaks (cow protectors) and include all kinds of lynching incidents.
BJP MLA Rameshwar Sharma said it seemed anyone who would stop a truck carrying cows and ask about his missing cattle would be punished harshly. Those who punctured a tyre of a truck smuggling cows would also meet a similar fate. “The Indian Penal Code already has provisions to deal with such crimes. What is the need to bring in additional provisions?” he said.
Responding to the debate, Chief Minister Kamal Nath said the bill was proposed with good intent and the state government didn’t have any politics in mind. “Hearing the suspicions and fears of MLAs, I propose that the bill be sent to a select committee,” he said.
Speaker NP Prajapati accepted the proposal and announced the details of formation of the committee would be made public later. As a goodwill gesture, the speaker ordered to show the proposed bill to the Shankaracharya as well.