The Karnataka Assembly recently passed a bill to ban the slaughter of cows - one of the most stringent of it's kind. The bill, which was passed without any discussion of the floor of the Assembly, stipulates stringent punishment to those who indulge in “smuggling, illegal transportation, atrocities on cows and slaughtering them”. The law also gives powers of search and seizure to the police on the basis of "reason to believe".
It defines 'cattle' as being "cow, calf of a cow and bull, bullock and he or she buffalo below the age of thirteen years". 'Beef' incidentally is defined as "flesh of cattle in any form" - in effect creating a blanket ban on the consumption of beef in the state.
Speaking to NDTV on Friday, Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister CN Ashwath Narayan offered up a bizarre show of support for the new bill. Vigilantes or 'gau rakshaks', he suggested, would no longer be at risk.
"Earlier, life was at risk for vigilantes... not those who were in the (cattle) trade," he told the channel.
He also a section of the new bill that shields people "acting in good faith" from legal action to make his point. "Vigilantes or anyone who is working for a cause and the law of the land should definitely have a scope to work in this provision," he said.
With the Karnataka legislative council getting adjourned sine die without taking up the contentious anti-cow slaughter bill passed by the Assembly, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Friday said, the government will promulgate an ordinance to bring it into effect.