"I think cow slaughter and buffalo slaughter should be banned... the reason for this is that 90 per cent of this is illegal. The law says that you can kill them after a certain age (14 or 16). But all that which are being killed now are either pregnant or milking cows," Ms Gandhi told NDTV in her first television interview since taking charge last year.
The minister added, "Hindus sell cows. Muslims are the butchers, because it is their profession. So, there is no question of a religious angle."
Ms Gandhi quoted from a survey by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India that said 80 per cent of the milk sold in the country is fake. "We have no milk in this country. The entire states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have no real milk. It is only adulterated milk that is being supplied," she said.
Ms Gandhi also spoke about her demand that a juvenile court be allowed to decide whether a minor involved in heinous crimes like rape or murder should be tried and punished like an adult. She pointed out that under existing laws, the juvenile in the Delhi gang-rape case had "technically committed the crime in a childish frame of mind." The convict, who was a few months short of 18 at the time, was sentenced to three years in a reform home, which triggered national outrage.
She had introduced a proposal in the Juvenile Justice Bill in Parliament to treat 16-18 year olds accused of rape and other serious crimes as adults, but a panel of lawmakers led by the health minister looking into the bill had rejected the clause and asked for a complete review.
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