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HYC opposes Assam’s cattle bill, asks Meghalaya to speak to Centre    

Shillong, July 20:  The Hynniewtrep Youth Council (HYC) has termed certain sections in Assam Cattle Preservation Bill 2021 as unconstitutional and opposed the bill.

The HYC wanted the state to take up the matter with the Centre.

In a memorandum submitted to the Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong on Tuesday, HYC president Robertjune Kharjahrin said there is a need to take up the matter with Assam government and the Centre.

The objective of the bill is to provide for the preservation of cattle by regulating their slaughter, consumption, illegal transportation and related matters.

However, section 7 (1) of the bill states that “No person shall transport or offer for transport or cause to be transported any cattle, without valid permit, from:- Any place of other state through Assam to any place outside state of Assam; Any place within the state of Assam to any place outside the state of Assam where slaughter of cattle is not regulated by law.”

The schedule to the bill has listed many animals which will be under the provision of the Act and they are bulls, bullocks, cows, heifer, calves, male and female buffaloes, buffaloes and calves.”

Central role

Kharjahrin said the section 7 of the bill is in contravention of the Indian Constitution as “Inter-state trade and commerce” falls under List 42 of the Union List of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India and no state in India has the authority to regulate interstate trade and commerce except by the rule of law passed by the Indian Parliament.

He said the provision also affects the federal power of Meghalaya which is serious in nature.

“The fact that even transportation of buffaloes is regulated by Assam as stated in the bill implies that the spirit of the bill goes beyond appeasing the religious sentiments of the Hindus in  Assam and if this kind of Policy by neighbourhood state is allowed, it will have a far reaching impact in the near future as Assam may also regulate and prohibit the supply of other food items and other goods to the state which will in turn greatly affect the livelihood and economy of Meghalaya as Assam is the only gateway to Meghalaya,” Kharjahrin said.

Illegal trade opposed

“No cattle should be illegally sold to Bangladesh and other neighbouring nations”, the HYC president said.

He added that section 7 of the bill puts a restriction on the movement of cattle from any place in India through Assam to be transported to any other state and it also restricts transportation of cattle to any state where slaughter is not regulated.

“This provision is a cause for concern to the movement of beef, buffalo and cattle to our state even for agricultural purposes and as beef consumption is common in the state and Assam being the gateway for transportation of goods to the state, such a legislation will have a far sighted impact on the food habit and the economy of the state,” he said.

Kharjahrin said that the state procures cattle from many other states in India like West Bengal, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and these are transported to the state through Assam.

He said that with the enactment of the legislation, movement of cattle will be affected besides causing lots of inconvenience to traders or persons transporting cattle to Meghalaya via Assam.

“There is also a high possibility that several religious based organisations or some fringe groups will unnecessarily disturb and restrict movement of vehicles transporting the cattle through Assam into the state,” he said.

He said the restriction will also affect the livelihood opportunities of the people of the state, whether directly or indirectly involved in selling and making by-products of beef or having shops dealing with beef meat.

The HYC also urged the state government to come up with a policy in order to promote cattle rearing and productions in the state by providing different incentives like schemes, grants, interest free loans, promotion of marketing strategy, setting up of industry for processed meat and by-products, encouraging and supporting SHGs, cooperative societies and others for taking up cattle rearing and meat productions in the state with an objective of making the state self sufficient.

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