K Venkatesh, Siddaramaiah | Photos: Screengrab, ANI
Bengaluru: Former Karnataka chief minister and BJP leader Basavaraj Bommai on Sunday took strong exception to Animal Husbandry Minister K Venkatesh's statement that if buffaloes can be slaughtered, then why not cows.
Condemning the statement, Bommai said in a series of tweets that Indians are emotionally connected with cows and worship them as a mother.
"Animal Husbandry Minister K Venkatesh's statement is shocking. We condemn his statement. We Indians have an emotional connection with the cow and worship them as mother," Bommai said.
Wondering whom Venkatesh wanted to please, the BJP leader sought to know whether the statement was made to change his portfolio or to please the Congress high command.
"Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi was the first to advocate the ban on cow slaughter. A ban on cow slaughter advocated by Venerable Mahatma Gandhi was enacted in several states in the 1960s," the BJP leader said.
According to Bommai, the minister's statement would give rise to "large-scale smuggling of cows and mass slaughtering factories in the state".
"The law was introduced during our government to prevent illegal slaughterhouses. No new Act has been brought in Karnataka. We have enforced the existing law," the former chief minister clarified.
Asking Venkatesh to think twice before making such a statement, Bommai appealed to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to give appropriate advice to his ministerial colleague in this regard.
Seeking a relook at the anti-cow slaughter law, Venkatesh on Saturday questioned why there was an exception for cows when buffaloes can be slaughtered.
The minister said the government will discuss and take a decision in this regard.
"We have not decided yet. The previous BJP government had brought in a bill, in that they have allowed slaughter of buffaloes and male buffaloes, but have said cow slaughter should not be done. We will discuss it and decide," Venkatesh said while speaking to reporters.
Responding to a question on the difficulty faced by farmers in managing aged cows, the minister shared his own example where he had to get an earthmover to bury his dead cow.
Along with Bommai, several BJP leaders condemned the minister's statement including Mysuru MP Pratap Simha.
The Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Act that was brought into force by the BJP government in 2021 has imposed a blanket ban on the slaughter of cattle in the state.
The only slaughter allowed is of terminally-ill cattle and buffaloes aged above 13 years. Congress, then in opposition, had opposed this legislation.