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Maharashtra becomes 9th state to ban calf slaughter
Tuesday March 3, 2015 12:26 PM, & Agencies

President Pranab Mukherjee Monday signed the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act (MAPA) 1995 19 years after the legislation was passed by the Maharashtra assembly by the then state government ruled by the Shiv Sena and BJP.

Under the amended act, the crime of slaughtering the animals covered under the ban will be non-bailable and the punishment will be five years in prison, upped from the earlier six months. The fine, too, has been hiked to Rs 10,000 from the current Rs 1,000.

Interestingly, the move came days after Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis assured the beef traders of providing them total safety from the harassment by the Hindu extremist groups.

The slaughter of cows is banned under schedule 5 of the Act passed in 1976. Schedule 6 of the Act, however, allowed the slaughter of bulls and bullocks, female buffaloes and buffalo calves with permission. The amendment now puts bulls, bullocks and calves under schedule 5 of the Act, which means a blanket ban on their slaughter.

"The amendment will come into force once the notification is issued by the state government," said Mahesh Pathak, secretary of the animal husbandry and dairy development department.

The Sena-BJP government in 1995 moved an amendment for the inclusion of bulls, bullocks and calves under schedule 5 of MAPA. The Bill was first submitted to the President for approval on January 30, 1996.

Over that period several correspondences were exchanged between Maharashtra government and the Centre for clarifications and also to study the effects of the implementation of the Bill on agriculture and farming.

However, subsequent governments at the Centre, including the BJP led NDA stalled it and did not seek the President's consent. Repeated demands of the State BJP to formulate the law went unheard during the 15-year tenure of the Congress-NCP in the State.

Maharashtra has become the ninth Indian state to impose such a ban in the state. Earlier, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Kerala and Gujarat have also imposed similar ban.

The BJP passed similar legislation in the house when it was ruling Karnataka. The decision was however revoked after strong protest.

Unlike popular notion that beef is consumed only by Muslims and only Muslims are associated with the trade, the beef is preferred choice a good majority of non-Muslims.

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