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Various pressure groups in Assam groups recently held a rally against the Assam Cattle Preservation Act, 2021, stating that the law was an assault on the farm economy in the name of religion.
Highlights of the law:
=> Slaughter of cow, calf and heifer is prohibited.
=> Transportation of cattle from or through Assam is prohibited.
=> Sale of beef or beef products is prohibited in areas predominantly inhabited by Hindu, Jains, Sikhs, and other non-beef eating communities.
=> Sale of beef or beef products is prohibited within a 5-km radius of any temple, satra or other Hindu religious institutions.
Punishment under the Assam Cattle Preservation Bill, 2021 for violation:
Those found violating the rules shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term not less than three years and up to eight years or a fine that may vary between Rs 3 lakh and Rs 5 lakh or both. If someone convicted is found guilty of the same or a related offence the second time, the punishment will be doubled.
Need for this law:
There is a rise of illegal cattle smuggling along the India-Bangladesh border despite the deployment of adequate security forces.
Controversial provisions/Criticisms surrounding the law:
=> The law completely prohibits Cow slaughter irrespective of any provisions.
=> It prohibits the sale of Beef and beef products within a radius of 5 km from any temple. This seems like a complete restriction on Beef for residents residing within the 5 km radius.
=> It specifies who is empowered to inspect, search and detain. The power has been provided to Veterinary Officer, Police Officer (Sub Inspector or above), and any person authorized by the State Government. This also might lead to political or communal misuse.
=> The punishments and Fines provided are very extreme. These kinds of punishments are given to a very serious offender in the Indian Penal Code, 1860.
Assam shares 263 km of border with Bangladesh, out of which 143.9 km is land and 119.1 km is riverine.
=> In Assam, there are many exit points along the porous India-Bangladesh border that facilitate the illicit cattle smuggling.
=> The smuggling also happens through West Bengal and Meghalaya which also share a border with Bangladesh.
=> A couple of years ago, the BSF had identified 65 cattle corridors along the border and had recommended certain measures to stop cattle smuggling.
=> Local police officials in Assam often claim that the law doesn’t allow them to stop someone from transporting cattle to another state. If accosted, the smugglers can claim that these are personal cattle.
By: ASRAF UDDIN AHMED ProfileResourcesReport error
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