Hindu activists have long accused the meat industry of covering up the slaughter of cows, a “holy symbol of Universal life.”
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat on Friday increased the punishment for cow slaughter from seven years to life imprisonment as Hindu hardliners push for tougher protections for the holy animal, reported Al Jazeera.
Under the stiffened penalties, anyone simply caught transporting cows for slaughter could face up to 10 years in jail.
Cows are considered sacred in Hindu-majority India, and their slaughter is illegal in most states.
“A cow is not an animal. It is a symbol of universal life,” Gujarat Law Minister Pradipsinh Jadeja told the state’s assembly.
“Anybody who does not spare the cow, the government will not spare him.”
The amendment is expected to be law soon, it is just waiting for the state Governor’s signature.
According to Al Jazeers, millions from India’s huge minority populations – including Muslims, Christians and lower-caste Hindus – eat beef, although it is not widely available.
But Modi’s ruling right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party, which recently won India’s largest state Uttar Pradesh in a landslide, has long campaigned for the protection of cows.
The BJP’s new chief minister in Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, has launched a crackdown on abattoirs since taking office in March that has ground the state’s meat industry to a halt.
Hindu activists have long accused the meat industry of covering up the slaughter of cows and passing off the meat as buffalo, which are not revered as holy.
Cow slaughter is a hot-button issue in India, where even rumors of cows being transported can lead to murderous reprisals and religious riots.
Squads of “cow protection” vigilantes are known to roam highways inspecting livestock trucks for any trace of the animal.
In 2015, a 50-year-old Muslim man accused of eating beef was dragged from his home and beaten to death by a mob. Police later said it was mutton.
This is quite different than the situation in America, where cows are treated like machines for milk production and tame beasts that exist simply to provide us with food. They do need to be treated with respect, but a lot of people don’t even get life in prison for killing other humans. If you are addicted to eating cows, India is probably not the place for you.
(Article By Jeremiah Jones)