The parliament of Haryana state in northern India has banned the slaughter of cows and sale of beef in a unanimous vote. The law imposes both a fine and a rigorous imprisonment term ranging from three years to 10 years for killing the animal.
“The cow is our mother and we need to protect her at any cost,” Om Prakas Dhankar, Haryana agriculture and animal husbandry minister, said, as cited by Pakistani newspaper, The Tribune.
Cows are considered sacred in Hinduism which is practiced by the majority of the population in the region. The ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) pledged to work to protect cows in the party’s election manifesto.
The recently-passed law prohibits the slaughter of cows and intends to promote the conservation and development of indigenous breeds of cows and establish special institutions and sanctuaries to take care of infirm, injured, stray and uneconomic cows.
According to the law, a person found guilty of cow slaughter can be sentenced up to 10 years in jail, with an additional fine of up to 100,000 rupees (over $1,500). Imprisonment of up to one year can also occur if the fine is not paid.
The export of cows for the purpose of slaughter will be punished with an imprisonment term of no less than three years which may be extended up to seven years with fines ranging from 30,000 to 70,000 rupees ($470-1,100). This includes exporting cattle to the states where slaughter is permitted.
The law also completely bans the sale of any kind of beef and the offense will be punished with imprisonment of no less than three years and up to five years with fine of up to 50,000 rupees (about $800). The vehicles used for any of these violations will be confiscated.
“No person shall sell or offer for sale or cause to be sold beef or beef products..,” the law says.