Under the new law, anyone selling beef or in possession of it in Maharashtra can be jailed for up to five years and fined Rs10,000
Indian President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday signed a bill banning cow slaughter in Maharashtra that had been pending for almost two decades, state finance minister, Sudhir Mungantiwar has said.
Under the new law, anyone selling beef or in possession of it can be jailed for up to five years and fined Rs10,000. Maharashtra is now the 25th Indian state to enact a law that bans the slaughter or sale of cows.
According to a report from Business Standard, among Hindus, a variety of lower castes still eat beef, alongwith most Muslims and Christians, for whom beef is a cheap source of protein, since it is cheaper than mutton or chicken.
The President's decision comes on the heels of a meeting with a delegation of seven state BJP MPs led by Kirit Somaiya, which submitted a memorandum seeking Mukherjee's assent for the bill.
The memorandum said that the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Bill, 1995, passed during the previous Shiv Sena-BJP regime, had been awaiting approval for 19 years.
According to newspaper report, the passage of the new Act will ban the slaughter of bulls as well as bullocks. However, it still permits the slaughter of water buffaloes, whose meat is generally seen as inferior in quality.
"I am very happy that the President finally gave his assent. We have been trying hard from the last several years to get the bill passed into a law. It not only ensures that animals are not killed, but would also stabilise the agricultural situation. Prevention of the killing of animals will increase the productivity of farms...Even healthy animals were being killed for money, but it will stop now," Mungantiwar said.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis too expressed happiness over President Pranab Mukherjee's decision to give assent to the bill.
"Thanks a lot honourable President Sir for the assent on Maharashtra Animal Preservation Bill. Our dream of ban on cow-slaughter becomes reality now," Fadnavis said on Twitter.