New Delhi: A contentious bill to ban cow slaughter and ensure stabilisation of the population of the Indian breed of bovines was Friday withdrawn by BJP member Subramanian Swamy in the Rajya Sabha, after the government urged him to do so.
While withdrawing his Cow Protection Bill 2017 during the private members’ business, Swamy said he would like the government to put a voluntary cess to ensure that the cows are looked after they cease to give milk.
During a 2-hour discussion on the bill, the Upper House witnessed heated exchanges when members of the Opposition objected to Railway Minister Piyush Goyal standing up and saying that such an important issue was being “made fun of”, after Samajwadi Party member Javed Ali Khan spoke on it.
Khan said cow should be immediately declared the national animal and provisions made whereby the government is held responsible for rearing and nourishment of cows. He also said India must end its diplomatic ties with countries which trade in meat.
Intervening in the debate, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said over the past 3.5 years, the government has been working on various schemes related to cow welfare.
“We have been taking steps for the protection and promotion of the cow. I want to assure Swamy that we are working in the same direction. With these words I request you to withdraw the bill,” the Minister said.
In response, Swamy said “I wanted a law to come, but want the government to seriously consider putting a voluntary cess for the purpose of ensuring that cows are looked after they cease to give milk.”
He said ‘gaushalas’ (cow sheds) should be set up and scientifically run. An authority to ensure stabilization of population of cows (Bos Indicus) should also be set up and the people would not hesitate to contribute.
“So the only thing that remains is the law. But since the minister has said that in consulation with me, he will proceed in this matter. I would like to give government one more chance so that I don’t have to come back again with another bill. … Therefore, permit me to withdraw the bill,” Swamy told the Chair.
During the debate, Congress member Rajeev Shukla asked Swamy “why doesn’t the BJP discuss the matter of cow slaugher with Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar?” The Goa CM had recently backed beef traders and warned vigilante groups attacking them.
Ananda Bhaskar Rapolu (Congress) observed that Swamy was earlier the Commerce Minister and the present-day Ministry has a separate Committee to promote export of beef.
“We are not addressing the real issues. We are giving just emotional tinge to the aspects with which we can polarise, we can exploit, we can divert,” Rapolu said.