The controversial MP had moved a Private Member’s Bill in the Rajya Sabha last year that sought to introduce the death penalty as punishment for cow slaughter. He withdrew the bill this February.
New Delhi: BJP Rajya Sabha member Subramanian Swamy has reiterated his suggestion that cow slaughter invite the same punishment as murder. Listing suggestions to protect cows in India, he has also called for a cess on commodities to build gaushalas (cow shelters).
The former union minister was addressing the ‘Cow Culture Conference 2018’ in Milpitas, California, that has been pegged as a platform to generate awareness about the potential of India’s “cow-centric culture” to protect “our suffering planet”.
“I have been urging the government to bring an all-India law and to make it really effective, anyone killing a cow should be prosecuted for murder,” Swamy said in his keynote address Sunday.
“One thing Hindus will not object to, you can put a cess on any commodity and say this is for building gaushala, you will get 10 times what you need from people of India,” he added.
Incidentally, Swamy had moved a Private Member’s Bill in the Rajya Sabha last year that sought to introduce the death penalty as punishment for cow slaughter. He withdrew the bill this February following an assurance from the government that they were “taking steps for the protection and promotion of the cow”, but warned that he would bring the proposed legislation again if the necessary measures were not taken.
The cow has become a contentious issue ever since the BJP-led NDA government assumed office at the Centre in 2014, with several instances of mob lynching and other forms of violence against those even “suspected” of slaughtering cows or “intending” to do so.
Swamy, however, claimed that the issue was even debated by the Constituent Assembly, and was not something that had been brought to the fore by “Hindu fanatics”.
“It (cow/cow slaughter) is not something that we have invented to harass the minorities or to show our hegemony in this society today, where the Hindus and other Indic religions together represent about 82.5 per cent of the population,” he said.
“It is that cow is an integral part of our economy, our medicines, our products that we need for building houses, pesticides and fertilisers… It is not something that has been thought out by the Hindu fanatics… It was debated in the Constituent Assembly… It is not being imposed by any Hindu fanatic or any party or any party wanting religious hegemony,” Swamy added.
The MP also questioned why no one protested against similar restrictions on killing species other than cows. “It is not that only cow slaughter is banned, there is another species (whose killing) we have banned by law — that is peacock, which no one protests about,” he said.
Swamy said he was only against people eating the ‘Bos Indicus’, “the Indian breed that needs to be protected to save our culture”, but had no problem if someone wanted to consume “anything that looks like a rhinoceros” as that cow would be “Bos Taurus, implying the latter’s foreign origin.
He added that it was only because of the ban on cow slaughter that the species was still found in India. “…When I was in China they couldn’t provide me milk. I asked them, how is it that you are our neighbours and you have no cows? This professor told me in your country you banned it (cow slaughter), so there are cows. In our country we didn’t and whenever famine came, the easiest animal that could be killed was the cow and that is how it disappeared,” he added.
Swamy said it was wrong to consider Hinduism “intolerant” on account of the push for cow protection, adding that it was more tolerant than other religions.
“So, any religion which comes to India and peacefully lives with the Hindus, it is absolutely impossible to find Hindus persecuting them or converting or eliminating them,” he added. “Christianity and Islam say very specifically ‘either my way or highway’ and, in fact, Islam prescribes a violent end to people who convert. So, to tell us we have been intolerant when we have been pursuing our ancient tradition is an absurdity and it has to be seen in a historical context,” he added.