ublished Date: June 29, 2010
|The cow is considered holy in orthodox Hinduism|
Christians have joined a protest against a bill banning cow slaughter in Karnataka, saying it targets minority groups.
Some 50,000 people including dalit (former “untouchables” in the caste system), tribal people and farmers from around 150 organizations attended a June 28 convention to oppose the Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill, 2010.
The bill, adopted by the state legislature on June 19, bans slaughter of cattle and the purchase, sale and disposal of cattle for slaughter. It also prohibits the usage and possession of beef, which effectively bans beef consumption.
Speakers said the bill targets religious minorities like Christians and Muslims who eat beef.
The bill is “unconstitutional and unacceptable” because it discriminates against minorities, said Girish Karnard, a playwright and filmmaker.
The state government, run by the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janatha Party, proposed the bill.
State chief minister B. S. Yeddyurappa reportedly defended the bill in the state legislature, saying that the cow, considered holy in orthodox Hinduism, should be protected.
For the bill to eventually become law, the state governor would have to endorse it.
The government is “criminalizing innocent people” who may be forced to violate the ruling for food needs, U. R. Ananthmurthy, a writer and educationist, told the convention.
The bill stipulates jail terms for violations and empowers officials to search and seize premises to implementing the ruling.
If the bill becomes law, Hindu radicals will see it as “a good excuse” to attack Christians, warned Church of South India pastor Reverend Manohar Chandra Prasad, a convention organizer.
The bill is not rational because 85 percent of people in the state depend on beef for their protein needs, Jesuit Father M. K. George, director of the Indian Social Institute, told ucanews.com.