Friday, 7 April 2017

Law relating to cow slaughter in Assam

They have started cow vigilatism in Assam also. According to a report, three people, including a minor, were arrested from Jorhat town in Assam on April 4 for carrying beef and thereby hurting the religious sentiments of some people. The first incident is by police in the name of law enforcement. But there are concerns that the private groups of vigilantes may start to go on the rampage like in the states of North India.

So, it is better to have a look at the law relating to cow slaughter in Assam.

In North East India there is no law prohibiting or regulating cow slaughter in the states of Manipur, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Tripura and Nagaland.

But not in Assam. In the state there is a state legislation called the Assam Cattle Preservation Act, 1950 that prohibits slaughter of certain types of cattle. The Act defines “cattle” as `Bulls, bullocks, cows, calves, male and female buffaloes and buffalo calves. Section 5 provides that the cattle can only be slaughtered on a certificate of ‘fit for slaughter’ given by a veterinary officer for the area if cattle is over 14 years of age or has become permanently incapacitated for work or breeding due to injury, deformity or any incurable disease and according to section 6 such cattle can be slaughtered only in places specified for this purpose. The offence under the Act may attract punishment of imprisonment up to maximum of 6 months or fine of up to Rs 1,000 or both and it is a cognisable offence.

However, section 13 empowers the state government to to impose, exempt from the operation of this Act, the slaughter of any cattle for any religious, ceremonial, medical research or any other purposes. It also states that “the operation of the Act will not be applicable to the slaughter of any cattle on the occasion of Id-uz-Zuha festival on such conditions as the State Government may specify regarding privacy”.

It is obvious that the Act does not absolutely prohibit slaughter of cow. It only regulates cattle slaughter. But the provisions are vulnerable to be misused. The problem is that they don't much care for the laws. The law nowhere prohibits carrying and eating of beef.

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