The Karnataka BJP government on Wednesday passed an anti-cow slaughter bill even as the opposition Congress and Janata Dal(Secular) staged a walkout protesting the manner in which the Bill was passed in the Assembly without a debate.

The Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill, 2020, seeks a total ban on the slaughter of cows and stringent punishment for offenders for those who indulge in smuggling, illegal transportation, atrocities on cows and slaughtering of the cattle. It also provides jail term of three to seven years and a fine upto Rs 5 lakh.

Former Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah in his late night tweets on Wednesday lashed out at the BS Yediyurappa government and called them ‘coward’ for the way bill was passed.

The Congress leader said that the anti-cow slaughter bill was ‘introduced and passed without any discussion’ and that the opposition would boycott the Thursday’s Assembly session.

He said, “Only a coward government, which can’t debate, can behave like this. They can’t stop us through their autocratic behaviour. We will take this to the people to fight against BJP’s corruption and despotism,”

Siddaramaiah said that the government had informed the advisory committee that till bill was not on agenda.

He added, “But, all of a sudden, the bill was introduced and passed without any discussion. This is the murder of democracy.”

The bill defines ‘beef’ as ‘flesh of cattle (cow, calf, bull bullock and male or female buffalo bellow 13 years). The only exemption that the 2020 bill provides is that buffaloes above age of 13 years and certified by a competent authority, cattle used in medical research, cattle certified for slaughter by a veterinarian to prevent spread of a disease, and very sick cattle.

Karnataka BJP handle tweeted, “Our government, under Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, is on its way to honour yet another of its promise.”