Calf slaughter is finally banned in Maharashtra — a move that took almost two decades to materialize and was initiated during the previous Sena-BJP government.
The Maharashtra State Animal Preservation (Amendment) Bill (1995) which came into existence during the previous Sena-BJP government — pending for approval for last 19 years (possibly one of the longest pending Bills) — has finally secured the assent of President Pranab Mukherjee.
A letter submitted to Maharashtra Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs mentions that Mr. Mukherjee has given his assent to the Bill on February 26.
The bill banning the cow slaughter in Maharashtra, pending for the last several years, today received the President’s assent, the state finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said here.
“I am very happy that the President finally gave his assent. We have been trying hard from the last several years to get the bill passed into a law. It not only ensures that animals are not killed, but would also stabilise the agricultural situation. Prevention of the killing of animals will increase the productivity of farms…Even healthy animals were being killed for money, but it will stop now,” Mungantiwar told PTI.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis too expressed happiness over President Pranab Mukherjee’s decision to give assent to the bill.
“Thanks a lot honourable President sir for the assent on Maharashtra Animal Preservation Bill. Our dream of ban on cow-slaughter becomes reality now,” Fadnavis said on Twitter.
A delegation of seven state BJP MPs led by Kirit Somaiya, (MP from Mumbai North) had met the President in New Delhi recently and submitted a memorandum seeking assent to the bill.
The memorandum said that the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Bill, 1995, passed during the previous Shiv Sena-BJP regime, was pending for approval for 19 years.
The Bill was first submitted to the President for approval on January 30, 1996. Over that period several correspondences were exchanged between Maharashtra government and the Centre for clarifications and also to study the effects of the implementation of the Bill on agriculture and farming. However, subsequent governments at the Centre, including the BJP led NDA stalled it and did not seek the President’s consent. Repeated demands of the State BJP to formulate the law went unheard during the 15-year tenure of the Congress-NCP in the State.
Cow slaughter is already banned in the State under the Maharashtra Animal Preservation Act (MAPA) but right-wing groups have for decades fought to extend the prohibition to the killing of calves, which could be slaughtered after acquiring the ‘Fit for Slaughter’ certificate from civic authorities.
While BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari told The Hindu that the party’s efforts to seek a ban on slaughter of calves should not be viewed with a communal lens but keeping in mind the “interests of agrarian communities,” critics have termed it the party’s clear appeasement of right-wing groups. The VHP congratulated the Maharashtra government on securing a ban on calf slaughter.
Barely two weeks after coming to power, on November 12, 2014 the Fadnavis government initiated a move to send the Bill, with all its clarifications, for the President’s consent. The following day Mahesh Pathak, the secretary of animal husbandry department, wrote to the Union ministry of home affairs expressing the State government’s wish to follow up on the bill and urging the Centre to obtain the President’s consent at an early date.
Amid continuous clamour by the BJP’s MLAs and Ministers in Maharashtra for a ban of calf slaughter, on Thursday seven party MPs led by Kirit Somaiya, MP, Mumbai North-East, met Mr. Mukherjee in New Delhi and submitted a memorandum to him seeking his assent to the ban on slaughter of calves in the State.