Karnataka’s Chief Minister, BS Yediyurappa, performed cow puja today at his official residence in Bengaluru. His party is celebrating the passage of a new cow protection bill by the state Assembly this week, although the BJP knows it lacks the numbers to pass the Legislative Council, a necessary move to make it law.
“The whole world knows that Hinduism considers the cow as the most sacred thing. The cow is considered wealth in this agrarian country. In our Vidhana Soudha (Legislative Assembly) this bill has been approved,” Yediyurappa said.
The numbers in the Legislative Council, however, are dominated by Congress and the Janata Dal Secular, who have made it clear that they were not in favor of such a law.
“I sat in Council from 11 am to 4 pm. I was waiting for it to pass. But we didn’t have a quorum … I was hoping that Congress would support the bill, but they didn’t and he favored Congress … I felt pain.” Karnataka Animal Husbandry Minister Prabhu Chavan told NDTV. The session of the legislature was interrupted and ended on Thursday, although the Chief Minister hopes it can meet again this week.
In any case, even the possibility of such a law has left many feeling vulnerable and fearing the worst.
One part of the bill, which allows search and seizure by a police officer at the rank of deputy inspector and above, already has people concerned about possible harassment and abuse.
“(An) officer involved … may conduct a search and seizure when he has reason to believe that a crime has been committed. There is a big difference between having credible information to commit a crime and ‘reason to believe’ that a” committed a crime, “said advocate BT Venkatesh, founder of ReachLawyer, a nonprofit human rights organization.
A restaurant owner, meanwhile, wondered if his trade will be treated like any other smuggling ring under this law. “This amounts to having drugs now. Like the way our police confiscate drugs, they are also trying to confiscate this,” said the restaurateur.
The BJP, however, ensures that such harassment will not occur.
“That kind of thing will not happen. If there is a complaint, if something is seen, our people will go. They will not go to the houses, it is not that kind of law,” said Chavan.
However, concerns persist as the party insists on incorporating the law in some way.
“We know how to do this,” Chavan said.