NEW DELHI — Bharatiya Janata Party MP Subramanian Swamy Feb. 2 moved in the Rajya Sabha the Cow Protection Bill, 2017 seeking to punish cow slaughter with the death penalty, but withdrew it after the government's assurance that it was working to "fulfill the same sentiments."
Swamy moved the bill for passing and consideration after the Rajya Sabha secretary general said the president's recommendation for introducing the bill, as required under Section 117(3) of the Constitution, had been received by the Rajya Sabha secretariat.
Moving the bill, Swamy said "We need to have extraordinarily harsh deterrent punishment" as high value was attached to the export of cow meat and that a punishment could be a deterrent "if we make it capital punishment, which should be given in extreme cases of people slaughtering cows."
Swamy also took a dig at the Congress party, saying the "original nationalist Congress people" including Seth Govind Das, Shibban Lal Saxena and former president of India Rajendra Prasad were "all for it," but the party has now changed under "Italian influence."
"I do not know what has happened. Maybe, the Italian influence has changed the Congress party today. But the fact is that the original nationalist Congress people were all for it. Also, throughout history, there is evidence that the Muslim community never made it an issue that they have a fundamental right to eat cow," he said.
"It is the Englishmen, the white-men, who made it a big fashion and wanted to make it a test whether you are Hindutva man or you are a British stooge," he added.
The bill also sought to introduce a cess for setting up and for "scientific running" of gaushalas (cow shelters) to take care of cows after they have stopped producing milk.
"I would say that we should set up gaushalas in practically every village. To meet the expenditure for that – our government is putting cess on so many things – they can put one more cess for gaushalas but make it optional that only those who want to give should pay this cess," Swami told the House while moving the bill.
"From this cess, this whole country will be unitedly giving you much more than you will get for anything else. That is the sentiment today. That is the sentiment across the country. This is what we want. This is part of our manifesto in the BJP," he added.
The bill sought to create an authority to ensure "stabilization of population of cows and to suggest such measures to comply with Article 37 and 48 of the Constitution, to ban the slaughter of cow and to provide deterrent punishment including death penalty for slaughter of cow and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto."
Swamy, however, withdrew the bill after the House debated the issue for two hours and Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh assured the MP that the government was working with full commitment to fulfill the sentiments of Swamy's proposed legislation and that it would work further with more speed in this direction.