ITANAGAR- Reacting to a bill tabled in Assam Legislative Assembly to regulate the consumption and transportation of cattle in Assam and ban its slaughter and sale of beef in parts of the state where Hindus, Jains and Sikhs are in a majority, North East Congress Coordination Committee general secretary Padi Richo said that “The law ( Assam’s Cattle Bill ) once acted would go against many NE states where large number of people earn their livelihood by selling cattle”.
The traders bring cattle from other parts of the country though Assam or its capital Guwahati being the entry points of many NE states and such a ban would snatch away their livelihood, Richo said in a statement on Tuesday.
Defining ‘cattle’ as bulls, bullocks, cows, heifer, calves, male and female buffaloes and buffalo calves, the bill envisions that “Anybody found guilty of violating the law shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than three years or fine that may vary between Rs 3 lakh and Rs five lakh or both. If someone convicted under the new law is found guilty of the same or a related offence the second time, the punishment will be doubled”.
Reminding that the BJP had formed North-East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) in May 2016 to protect interest of NE people and he (Sarma) was appointed convenor, but such a bill goes against the indigenous people of the NE region, particularly of Arunachal Pradesh.
When cattle (cows, buffalos, mithun and goats) is traditionally linked to rituals and festivals of over 100-odd tribes and sub-tribes of Arunachal, will such a law not amount to disintegrate the NE instead of integrating the mantra of NEDA, questioned Richo, a Donyi-Polo believer and chairman of many temples since 1984?
India is a a Sovereign, Democratic and Republic state whose Constitution gives equal rights to all its citizens without any distinction irrespective of caste, creed and religions. But the bill seeks to ensure that “permission for slaughter wasn’t granted in areas that are predominantly inhabited by Hindu, Jain, Sikh and other non-beef-eating communities or places that fall within five-km radius of a temple, satra, and any other institution as may be prescribed by the authorities”.
When the bill aims at pleasing people belonging to a particular religion, the law once enacted would hurt sentiment of those consume cattle meat and who knows masses may revolt against the BJP government which may not last even for 10 days, Rich apprehended, adding that good sense should prevail on BJP government not to enact such anti-people law that threatens their family trade and survival of all stakeholders.