Assam: Police powers increased under amended Cattle Protection Act

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The Assam Cattle Protection Act, 2021, passed in August, prohibited the slaughter of cattle and the sale of beef within a five-kilometre radius of Hindu, Jain and Sikh-majority temples or Vaishnava monasteries. Now under the amendment, the police can enter the house of the accused and investigate and can also take action to confiscate the property acquired through illegal animal trade.

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sharma. (Photo: PTI)

Guwahati: The Assam Cattle Protection Act, 2021 was amended in the assembly on 23 December, under which the powers of the police have been increased.

Under the amendment, the police can investigate by entering the house of the accused and also take action to confiscate the property acquired in the last six years through illegal animal trade.

Amid vigorous debate in the House during the passage of the Assam Cattle Protection (Amendment) Bill, 2021, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sharma said that he wants to send a message that Assam’s stand is very strict in tackling illegal cattle trade.

Several amendments were proposed by the opposition members regarding this bill introduced in the assembly on 20 December, however, the suggestions were withdrawn after Sharma’s address. Only Independent MLA Akhil Gogai stuck to his stand that the entire Act is “unconstitutional and communal” in nature.

The Assam Legislative Assembly passed the Assam Cattle Protection Bill, 2021 on August 13.

According to news agency PTI, this law prohibits the slaughter of cattle and the sale of beef within a five-kilometre radius of a temple or satra (Vaishnava monasteries) or any other such place of Hindu, Jain and Sikh majority. This range can be determined by the authorities.

A new section has now been added to the Act which empowers an investigating officer to enter, inspect, search the house of an accused and seize and take into custody his movable or immovable properties accumulated in the past six years from illegal animal trade. Is.

Part of the amendment states, “Provided that in contravention of any provision under this Act, the burden of proving the property illegally acquired or confiscated by way of sale or transport of cattle shall lie on the person affected.”

On Gogoi’s criticism of the burden of proof on the accused, Sharma said that other acts like the POCSO Act and the NDPS Act as well as the Foreigners Act also put the burden on the accused to prove his innocence.

The amended Act did away with the provision authorizing the state government to exempt certain places of worship or occasions for the slaughter of cattle other than the calf, heifer and cow for religious purposes.

There is no restriction on buffalo sacrifice in temples and it can go on at any time without the permission of the competent authority. However, cows will not be sacrificed and there will be no slaughter in the temples.

It has permitted the transport of cattle from one district to another within the State by issuing permits for the transport of cattle for actual agricultural or animal husbandry purposes or for trade for the said purposes by agencies registered under the Department of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Medicine. .

However, the transport of cattle within Assam to any district that has an international border is prohibited under the amended Act.

“We only want to stop the killing of cows and do not want to destroy the agricultural economy,” the chief minister said. That’s why we have allowed inter-state transport of cattle. We have banned the border districts to stop the smuggling of cows into Bangladesh.

Further, the Amendment Act has allowed the sale of confiscated vehicles, boats and ships, except cattle, through public auction after being produced before the appropriate court during investigation or trial.

Sharma said, “Vehicles will be sold to stop the remaining animal trade which is still going on. Around 20-30 per cent illegal trade is still happening.

He informed the House that after the Act was passed in August, 406 cases were registered, 2,808 cattle were rescued, 240 people were arrested, 68 vehicles were seized, one person died in police action and five Others were injured.

The Chief Minister said that he is working according to the election manifesto of the BJP, which has got a huge mandate from the people to run the government.

Sharma said, ‘I am a chief minister to make dreams come true. I do not care. My dream is that Assam touches the sky.

Sharma appealed to the people to gradually withdraw from the beef business as any kind of violence against animals is bad.

He also said that a Rs 1,400 crore project is being planned in collaboration with the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) to increase the state’s milk production to 10 lakh liters per day.

Earlier, Congress member Kamalakhya De Purkayastha, participating in the discussion on the bill, urged the government to do away with the new clause giving police the right to enter, search and confiscate property for six years on suspicion. Go.

Congress MLA Abdur Rashid Mandal slammed the government over the amendment, saying it would give excessive power to the police and legitimize injustice.

AIUDF member Aminul Islam said there should be no restriction on inter-district movement of cattle for agricultural purposes, including in the districts sharing the international border.

CPI(M)’s Manoranjan Talukdar said the act is already having an adverse impact on the rural economy and many animal markets have been closed and poor farmers are feeling the pain.

(with input from news agency language)

Categories: North East, Politics, Society

Tagged as: Assam, Assam Cattle Preservation Act 2021, BJP Govenment, cow, Cow Politics, cow slaughter, Cow Slaughter Ban, Cow Vigilante, cow vigilantism, Crime, Himanta Biswa Sarma, Mob Violence, Police, The Wire Hindi

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