TT, April 1: Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh today said anyone killing cows would be hanged.
The assertion came a day after Gujarat enacted the stiffest punishment in the country for cow slaughter. The timing of Singh's declaration in response to a question has triggered speculation about competition among BJP chief ministers on cow protection.
Chhattisgarh officials later sought to underscore the detail that Singh's was not a unilateral statement but in response to persistent questioning by the media.
Asked if the Chhattisgarh government planned to make cow protection laws more stringent to match Gujarat's life imprisonment, Singh said: "Not a single incident of cow slaughter has taken place in the past 15 years."
" Jo maarega usko latka denge (Anyone doing so will be hanged)," the chief minister added.
Cow slaughter is banned in the state. The penal provisions include jail up to three years and a fine.
Yesterday, Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani had tweeted about the "most stringent" cow protection bill in the country. Before that, Haryana, another BJP-ruled state, had held the "top honours" on this count with a provision for jail up to 10 years.
AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi accused the BJP of "hypocrisy". "In UP, cow is mummy, and in the northeastern states, it's yummy. This shows the BJP's hypocrisy," PTI quoted Owaisi as telling a TV channel.
"While they are talking about the beef ban in UP, they have said there would be no such thing in the Northeast. Assembly elections are going to be held in three states in the Northeast. Beef is easily available in (BJP-ruled) Goa. You tell me what this is," he added.
BJP MP Subramanian Swamy responded: "What's this mummy-yummy thing? Owaisi says he has faith in the Indian Constitution. Article 48 of the Constitution says cow slaughter will be prohibited."
N. Biren Singh, the chief minister of BJP-ruled Manipur, slammed Owaisi. "Such wild allegations should not be made. We worship cows, we preserve them. He cannot make such observations about the entire Northeast," he said.