Himanta Biswa Sarma on the final day of his first assembly session after becoming Chief Minister of Assam this Monday said the government would take every action within the ambit of the constitution to protect cows in the state.
Assam Governor Jagdish Mukhi during his welcome speech on the first day of the Assembly last Friday had said that the Assam government plans to introduce Cow Protection Bill to be passed in the next session of the Assembly.
"Cow is our mother. We will not allow cows to be smuggled in from West Bengal. Those places where cows are worshipped, beef must not be consumed. It does not mean that everybody has to give up and change habits all of a sudden," said Mr Sarma.
Sighting the statement of Darul Uloom, an Islamic society from Lucknow on maintaining sensitivity while consuming beef in places where non-consumers are in majority, Mr Sarma said, "There is no need for a Madina hotel (indicating food joints that serves beef) in Fancy Bazar or in Gandhibasti or Santipur (locations in Guwahati) as there is sensitivity. However, we can appeal to people to give up where there is no sensitivity."
He said, "Under the Directive principles of state policy under the Constitution, cow slaughter must be stopped. No illegal cartel of cow trade will be allowed."
The Assam Cattle Preservation Act, banning cow slaughter was enacted way back in 1950, but Section 5 permits the slaughter of cattle on the issuance of "fit-for-slaughter" certificates. These certificates can be issued by veterinarians if the bovines are over 14 years of age or have become permanently incapacitated for work or breeding due to injury, deformity or any incurable disease. Section 6 says bovines can be slaughtered only in places specified by authorities, however, Section 13 waives this rule during Eid.
Mr Sarma further said, "Karim Uddin Barbhuiya All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) MLA took oath in the name of "Allah" in the state assembly in the Sanskrit language, this language is a symbol of culture and civilization."
The Chief Minister got major support from BJP MLA Jayanta Mallah Baruah and other party leaders during the session.
However, from the opposition, AIUDF MLA Aminul Islam said the government must ensure that the passing of such an act should not give rise to wow vigilante groups "as it had been the case in several parts of the country" in which, people have faced mob attacks.