Guwahati (Assam) – The BJP Government in Assam has passed a Bill amending the Assam Cattle Preservation Act. The bill now empowers the Police to enter the house of an accused and inspect, search, and seize properties acquired in the last six years with funds reportedly earned from the illegal cattle trade.
Assam Assembly passes amendments to Cattle Preservation Act to curb illegal trade; Ajmal’s AIUDF and CPM oppose https://t.co/IKZeBvc4ez
— HinduPost (@hindupost) December 24, 2021
Amid a heated debate in the State Assembly, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said he wants to convey the message that Assam is a ‘tough state’ while dealing with unlawful cattle trade.
Most of the objections raised by opposition members to the Bill, introduced on 20th December, were withdrawn. Independent MLA Akhil Gogoi, however, stuck to his stand that the entire Bill was ‘unconstitutional and communal’ in nature.
On Gogoi’s criticism about the burden of proof being on the accused, Himanta Biswa Sarma said other Acts such as the POCSO Act, the NDPS Act and the Foreigners Act also put the onus on the accused to prove his / her innocence.
The Bill bans Inter-State transport of cows through Assam in order to control their smuggling to neighbouring Bangladesh. It also bans the transport of cattle from other States through Assam to places outside the State. Transport of cattle from any place within Assam to places outside the State ‘where the slaughter of cattle is not regulated by law’ is also banned.