Opposing the Assam Cattle Preservation Bill 2021, the Hynniewtrep Youth Council (HYC) has demanded the state government to take up with the Centre against certain sections in the legislation which are “unconstitutional” in nature.
In a memorandum submitted to the Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong on Tuesday, HYC president Robertjune Kharjahrin said, “…we urged upon you to kindly intervene and take necessary steps with the Government of Assam and the Union Government with regard to the above legislation.”
The Assam government had introduced the Assam Cattle Preservation Bill 2021 in the ongoing Legislative Assembly with an objective to provide for the preservation of cattle by regulating their slaughter, consumption, illegal transportation and matters connected and incidental therewith.
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 the following animals which will be under the Provision of the Act (If the aforesaid mentioned Bill is passed) Bulls, Bullocks, Cows, Heifer, Calves, male and female buffaloes, buffaloes, calves.”
Kharjahrin said the HYC is of the opinion that 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 Scheduled to the Constitution of India and no state in India have the authority to regulate interstate trade and commerce except by the rule of law passed by the Indian Parliament.
He said this provision also affects the federal power of the State of Meghalaya which is serious in nature.
“The fact that even transportation of buffaloes is regulated by Assam as stated in the Bill above it is implied that the spirit of the Bill goes beyond appealing the religious sentiments of the Hindus in the State of 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 affects the livelihood and economy of the State as Assam is the only gateway to Meghalaya,” Kharjahrin added.
Admitting the fact that no cattles should be illegally sold to Bangladesh and other neighbouring nations, the HYC president said but, 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 restrict transportation of cattle to any state where slaughter is not regulated by such state.
“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 as a whole,” 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 added that with the enactment of this legislation, movement of cattle will be affected and cause lots of inconvenience to traders or persons transporting cattle to our state 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 cattles through Assam into the state,” he said.
According to him, this 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 Hynniewtrep Youth Council (HYC) has 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, etc for taking up cattle rearing and meat productions in the state with an objective of making the state self sufficient in the near future.