The new law also has a provision for ten-year imprisonment for transportation, storage or sale of beef.
New Delhi/Ahmedabad: Poll-bound Gujarat has become the first state in the country to make cow slaughter punishable with life imprisonment.
The state Assembly amended on Friday the Gujarat Animal Preservation Act of 1954 in the absence of Congress MLAs who were suspended for a day for creating ruckus in the House.
The minimum punishment is 10 years. Cow slaughter is also a non-bailable offence now. The Act was last amended in 2011. Earlier, the punishment ranged from three to seven years. The new law also has a provision for ten-year imprisonment for transportation, storage or sale of beef.
The legislation, which envisages permanent forfeiture of vehicles involved in transportation of progeny of cows — calves, bulls and bullocks — and beef, bans transportation of animals from one place to another at night.
“It’s among the most stringent laws in the country,” chief minister Vijay Rupani tweeted. Assembly elections in Gujarat are due towards the end of the year.
Introducing the bill, minister of state for home Pradeepsinh Jadeja said, “Cows do not have only a religious significance, they also have an economic significance in our society. It is utmost necessary to increase the punishment to deter those involved in slaughtering of cows.”
The bill also proposes imprisonment up to 10 years but not less then seven years for those found involved in transportation, sale and storage of beef. Earlier, the maximum punishment for the same offence was three years.
In 2011, when Narendra Modi was Gujarat’s chief minister, the state government had imposed a complete ban on slaughter of cows, their sale and transportation.
The new bill also enhances the fine for those found involved in slaughtering cows and related crimes from Rs 50,000 to up to R1 lakh.
“The Gujarat government understands the importance and values of the cow and that is the reason for the bill. Congrats to all members,” Mr Rupani said in another tweet.
“Protection of cows is the single-most important principle towards saving the whole world from both moral and spiritual degradation.”