Anti-slaughter Act criminalized livelihoods, legalised vigilantism in Karnataka: Study

News Network
November 18, 2021

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Even though the ‘Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Act, 2020’, claims to protect cattle and increase the breed of cattle, in reality the Act has a detrimental impact on the cattle rearing and market ecosystem, according to a scientific study. 

The study was led by public health specialist Sylvia Karpagam and independent researcher Siddharth Joshi. The study was an initiative by a group of researchers part of Ahaara Namma Hakku collective. 

The study report “Criminalising Livelihoods, Legalising Vigilantism” analyses the impact of the legislation on various communities including farmers, cattle transporters, slaughterhouses, skin and hide curing units, butchers, eateries and consumers.
It states that the justification provided by the government to implement the Act “betrays a complete lack of understanding of how the cattle production cycle works, and the utter disregard for the destructive impact it is going to have on the lives, incomes and livelihoods of the those who are part of the long chain of economic activities sustained by slaughter of cattle...”

While farmers usually sell unproductive cattle to traders who transport them to slaughterhouses, the new legislation which prohibits the slaughter of bulls, bullocks and buffaloes (below the age of 13 years), criminalizes traders who buy cattle for slaughter. Without an option to sell unproductive animals, farmers have to continue taking care of the animal making it economically unviable, it says. The report also highlights farmers lamenting how the legislation portrays them like criminals, leaving them vulnerable to vigilantes.

Further, the measures proposed by the government for mitigation of these adverse impacts are also impractical, it points out. For instance, while the government has proposed to take care of stray cattle in gaushalas, it doesn’t solve the economic loss to the farmers from being unable to sell the unproductive cattle. The report also quotes stakeholders who point out that cattle aren’t fed properly in gaushalas and they are sold on the sly. 

Considering that Karnataka is grappling with malnutrition, the researchers emphasize the importance of beef as a nutrition source.

Karpagam demanded that the government revoke the Act. “Else, it should at least allow slaughter of all other animals such as ox and bull. Now the exemption is allowed only for buffalo, which people in Karnataka do not consume,” she said.

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News Network
May 13,2022

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Officials from the Archaeological Survey of India have rejected rumours of "Hindu idols from ancient times" being present inside 22 "permanently locked rooms" inside the Taj Mahal.

The statements came in the wake of the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court rejecting a petition seeking a directive to the ASI to open the closed rooms inside the mausoleum.

Officials of the ASI told The Times of India that the contention in the plea is wrong on both counts. One, these rooms - officially called "cells" - are "not permanently closed" and they were only recently opened for conservation work. And two, being that all records scrutinised so far over the years "have not pointed to the presence of any idols".

"Various records and reports that have been reviewed till now haven't shown the existence of any idols," a senior official privy to the restoration work done three months ago told the publication.

"The petitioner's claim of 22 rooms being permanently locked is factually incorrect as conservation work, including filling of cracks, re-plastering and anti-ageing treatments, are periodically done. In fact, the most recent work cost us Rs 6 lakh," a senior ASI official said.

Another senior ASI official added that 100 cells in the complex that remain locked to the public are located in the basement, the upper storeys of the main mausoleum, the four minarets, inside the baolis (near the mosque) and on the Chameli floor on east, west and north sides. Besides these, several portions of the other world heritage sites in the region - Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri - have also remained closed to the public for years due to security reasons.

Several Hindutva outfits have claimed in the past that the Mughal-era mausoleum was a Shiva temple.

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News Network
May 13,2022

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Mysuru, May 13: At a time when the Gyanvapi mosque row in Varanasi triggered a debate about whether mosques were built over temples all over the country, the Jamia mosque in Srirangapatna town in Karnataka's Mandya district has yet again come into the eye of the storm.

The saffronite hate brigade has been trying to convert Srirangapatna into Karnataka's Ayodhya. The ruling BJP has been making attempts to make inroads in the prosperous district, which greatly impacts state politics.

Sources said that with Hindutva outfits taking up the issue, the party is aiming to reap rich electoral success in the region which is presently considered as the bastion of JD(S). Srirangapatna in Mandya district is considered to be a stronghold of the dominant Vokkaliga community.

The management of the mosque has made repeated appeals to the district authorities to protect the mosque from being harmed by communal hate mongers.

Rishi Kumar Swami of Kali mutt claimed on Thursday that the Jamia mosque in Srirangapatna was built on the site of a Hanuman temple, which was razed to make way for the mosque. 

"There are emblems of the erstwhile Hoysala kingdom inside the mosque," he claimed.

A campaign on this would be launched during the upcoming Hanuman Jayanti, Swami said.

He also claimed that the temple was built before the rule of the Mysuru kings.

"During the rule of Tipu Sultan, the Hanuman temple was converted into a mosque. There is clinching evidence to prove that the mosque was a Hindu temple once," Swami claimed.

He further claimed that the temple was destroyed in 1784.

Swam was arrested in January this year on charges of giving a call to demolish the mosque. He had demanded that the mosque be closed until it is decided whether it was a temple before. He is out on bail now.

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News Network
May 12,2022

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Colombo, May 12: Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn in as Sri Lanka's prime minister for the sixth time on Thursday, though the veteran politician has never completed a full term in office.

The 73-year-old's political career appeared to be drawing to a close before this week, when he agreed to helm a unity administration and help steer the South Asian island nation through a crippling economic crisis.

"This is a historic event," Tamil legislator Dharmalingam Sithadthan told AFP in reference to Wickremesinghe's latest return to the top office.

"This shows the desperate situation in our country."

Wickremesinghe is the sole parliamentary representative of the United National Party, a once-powerful political force that was nearly wiped out in Sri Lanka's last elections.

The former lawyer hails from a political family and his uncle Junius Jayewardene served as president for more than a decade.

But Wickremesinghe once told AFP he would have likely pursued a career as a journalist, had the government of the day not nationalised his family's newspaper business in 1973.

He was first appointed premier in 1993 after the assassination of then-president Ranasinghe Premadasa, who was killed in a bomb attack by Tamil Tiger guerrillas during Sri Lanka's decades-long civil war.

Underscoring the dynastic nature of Sri Lanka's politics, Premadasa's son Sajith is the current opposition leader and had also been touted as a possible prime ministerial candidate this week.

Wickremesinghe's first term in office lasted little more than a year.

He returned to power in 2001, earning a reputation for sound economic management after steering the country out of recession.

Conflict with the president saw him sacked before his term was over, and he spent the next decade in the political wilderness.

Wickremasinghe lost two presidential contests and led his party to a string of election defeats, prompting even his own supporters to dub him a "record loser".

He was nonetheless sworn in as prime minister again in 2015 after the election defeat of president Mahinda Rajapaksa after the opposition rallied behind him as a unity candidate against the authoritarian leader.

His "Mr Clean" image was muddied later that year when his administration was rocked by an insider trading scam involving central bank bonds.

A key accused in the multi-million dollar scam was the central bank chief at the time, Arjuna Mahendran, who was Wickremesinghe's schoolmate and choice for the job.

He was accused of cronyism during his tenure and failing to prosecute members of the previous Rajapaksa regime, members of which had been accused of graft, kickbacks and siphoning off public finances.

Political conflict with the powerful Rajapaksa family also threw the country into crisis in 2018, with Mahinda taking over the premiership for six weeks before the Supreme Court ruled it was unconstitutional.

Wickremesinghe returns to office to replace Mahinda Rajapaksa, who resigned on Monday after his supporters attacked anti-government demonstrators, and later had to be rescued from his residence by the military.

He will serve at the pleasure of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Mahinda's younger brother, who has fought off calls for his own resignation over the government's mismanagement of the economic crisis.

Wickremesinghe will be taking charge of a bankrupt nation in default of its $51-billion foreign debt and without money to import essential goods.

His status as a pro-West, free-market reformist could smooth bailout negotiations with the International Monetary Fund and foreign creditors.

But he has already warned there will be no quick fix to the nation's unprecedented economic woes.

"The worst is yet to come. We have very high inflation now and hyperinflation is on its way," Wickremesinghe told parliament last week.

"We should start addressing the issues now, we can't put it off any longer," he added. 

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