Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Cow Politics In Karnataka

The Karnataka 1964 cow protection act is going to be amended soon. It will give undue authority to the so-called protectors of cow to take law and order into their hands.

Indians are now well accustomed to political stunts. They generally wait for political acrobats to whirl their wands and conjure up controversies. Yet each time it emerges as a bombshell and surprises them. Isn't it amazing in itself? Same applies to the new buzzword in Karnataka's political arena. The Karnataka CM Mr. Yeddyurappa's surprise packed promise to have the "Karnataka Prevention of Cow Slaughter and Cattle Preservation Act, 1964" amended during the next Legislative Assembly session. Its harm, if done, may turn out to be multi-dimensional.

Despite an existing proscription over freely slaughtering of "animals (bull, bullock, buffalo-male, or female, calf of she-buffalo whether male or female) and cow (including calf of a cow whether male or female)", the demand for some amendments in the "Karnataka Act 35, 1964" in order to protect the "holy cow" is beyond logical perception. A question as to why the protagonist of cow and animal protection not oppose the slaughter of the cattle for research or experimental purpose is frequently asked.

There is a larger game plan than meets the eye. The demand for amendment, instead of being religiously inspired, is a religion- cum-political card the Bharatiya Janata Party has thrown to win at least the Hindu voter's sympathy in its favour.

"They use me for power but don't give me good food"

Karnataka being the first state in South India where BJP registered victory is being used for it. Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) elections due to be held are important. The infiltration of politics in everything is a dangerous trend in India. Even religion is no exception.

At this juncture, the common realization among the majority of the state's residents that BJP did nothing special for them after taking office is not good for the party. Only the future will reveal how much the cow-card served BJP's purpose in diverting the mind of the public from important issues. Otherwise, as a matter of fact, Hindus don't take interest in this campaign of some politicians because many of them have also been associated with cattle in either eating habits or business. The amendment will badly affect the livelihood of thousands of them too.

Mr. Ejaz Quraishi, the President of Beef Merchants' Association of Karnataka, says that if amendment is done, "Thousands of families in the State, which are dependent on slaughter of cattle and sale of beef, skin and bones will be thrown on the streets."

"In August 2002, Indian newspapers reported that Kerala generates and consumes the maximum quantity of beef in India, and beef constituted nearly 40 per cent of total meat consumed in Kerala," writes O P Gupta in one of his articles. In Kerala, according to 2001 Census around 56% population is Hindu while Muslims and Christians, put together, constitute 43 percent. The least that can be derived from this fact is that Hindus too are indulged in beef eating. Almost the same situation prevails in the whole of South India.

The 1964 act already bans the sale, use and possession of beef and sale, purchase or disposal of animal or cow for slaughter.

That no permission for presenting the bill was sought from the "Central Government" constitutes the first step towards lawlessness. First the permission from Centre and then efforts to have the Cow Bill amended is the right sequence if rules are to be followed, told a top official.

Under the Karnataka 1964 act, the "competent authority" appointed by the state government or "authorised person" in this behalf by the competent authority have the power to enter and inspect "any premises" where they have reasons to believe that any offence of cow slaughtering is being committed. Objections have been raised over this provision too; the government can authorize any person or group as "competent authority" who might misuse the power against a certain community or group. Minorities in India have often complained that the police abuse their power in many circumstances especially during the riots. Their complaints went unheard.

In the case of the amendment taking place, these authorities will not only have the power to "search and seize any premises or vehicle or vessel" where the animal is contained but also those particular articles may be "sold by auction" after the District Magistrate approves.

In other words, the amendment will give the authorised person a free licence to raid and loot the premises, vehicles and vessels of any one they desire. There is no guarantee that the Hindutva- minded people in the government will abstain from giving authority to one who is feared to misuse power. What if RSS, VHP and Bajrang Dal cadres manage to become the 'competent authority' or at least the 'authorised person'? They will turn the peace of the society upside down.

Will this too be legalized in the name of protecting cow?

What happened in Gujarat? The rioters with the support of the law protectors performed a planned genocide of Muslims. All this happened even though no authority was offered to them. In fact, the communalists are already determined to transform the democratic India into a failed state.

The amendment, seems to be one of the rules of a lawless nation where people are unconditionally authorized to invade any one's house, at any time and most importantly without any valid reason, as merely their 'personal knowledge' will suffice for them a reason. That no permission for presenting the bill was sought from the "Central Government" constitutes the first step towards lawlessness. First the permission from Centre and then efforts to have the Cow Bill amended is the right sequence if rules are to be followed.

None of the citizens will ever feel him safe due to the fear of being attacked by authorised people, without the condition of any time. Hence, there is valid fear that anyone in order to avenge a person may tease him resorting to the allegation that he is violating the law regarding cow and animal preservation.

This will lead to disturbance of communal harmony especially on the occasion of elections when politicians do not hesitate to create a clash among Hindus and non- Hindus and emotionally blackmail the former to notch up an easy victory. *

By Staff Writer

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