Former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah bemoaned the "murder of democracy" late Wednesday night as he lashed out at the BS Yediyurappa government - whom he labelled a "coward" - after the Prevention of Cow Slaughter and Cattle Preservation (Amendment) Bill was passed by the Legislative Assembly.
In a series of five tweets, the senior Congress leader said the anti-cow slaughter bill had been "introduced and passed without any discussion", and that the opposition party would boycott Thursday's Assembly session to protest an "anti-democratic act".
"Only a coward government, which can't debate, can behave like this. They can't stop us through their autocratic behaviour. We will take this to the people to fight against BJP's corruption and despotism," Mr Siddaramaiah tweeted.
Only a coward govt, which can't debate, can behave like this. They can't stop us through their autocratic behaviour. We will take this to the people to fight against @BJP4Karnataka's corruption & despotism.— Siddaramaiah (@siddaramaiah) December 9, 2020
The former Chief Minister said the state had informed the Business Advisory Committee (which recommends matters to be discussed and allots time for this) that this bill was not on the agenda.
"But, all of a sudden, the bill was introduced and passed without discussion. This is the murder of democracy," he said, accusing the state government of trying to "cover up their failures and misguide people by bringing up issues like anti-cow slaughter bill".
.@BSYBJP had told in the advisory committee that no new bill will be presented in the assembly. Anti-Cow slaughter bill was not there in today's agenda also.— Siddaramaiah (@siddaramaiah) December 9, 2020
But, all of a sudden, the bill was introduced and passed without any discussion. This is the murder of democracy.
"Congress will boycott (the) Assembly session tomorrow in protest against (the)anti-democratic act of Karnataka BJP," a furious Mr Siddaramaiah added.
Earlier today, after the bill was tabled in the House, cows were brought into the Vidhana Soudha, or Secretariat, and Animal Husbandry Minister Prabhu Chavan performed a puja for them.
Mr Chavan told NDTV: "This is the blessings of the six crore people of Karnataka (and) of senior leaders. I thank the Chief Minister and the leaders for giving me this opportunity. This is the first time that the cow puja has been done here."
Karnataka BJP tweeted, calling the bill "much-awaited" and said: "Our government, under Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, is on its way to honour yet another of its promise."
The bill, which defines "beef" as "flesh of cattle (cow, calf, bull, bullock and male or female buffalo bellow 13 years)", provides between three and seven years jail and (or) a fine up to Rs 5 lakh. Subsequent offences can invite fines up to Rs 10 lakh, and a jail term of up to seven years.