Mumbai: In yet another display of blatant double standard, the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) led government in Maharashtra on Thursday amended the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and passed a bill to allow bullock cart race across the state.
Soon after forming the government in Maharashtra, the BJP had imposed ban on slaughter of bovine animals even as "Cow Salughter" was already banned in the state since 1976.
The Maharashtra government's amendment to the central act pertaining to prevention of cruelty to animals came months after Tamil Nadu government a court order and issued an ordinance to allow Jallikattu. The move came after protest in the state.
The bill to allow bullock cart race was tabled in the Maharashtra Assembly by Animal Husbandry Minister Mahadev Jankar.
"The decision has been taken in view of the vital role of the bullock cart race in preserving and promoting the tradition and culture", Jankar said in the state assembly.
Last week, the state Cabinet had decided to appoint a cabinet sub-committee to study the draft of the amendment bill to revoke the ban on bullock-cart racing.
The amendment will be applicable to bullock cart races in the state which are known by different names in different parts like "Chakadi", "Bailgadi Sharyat" and "Shankar Paat" .
As per the amendment, bullock cart races could be held with the prior permission from the District Collector and by ensuring that "no pain or suffering would be caused to the animal".
If the person in charge of the animals conducts the race violating the rules, he would be punished with fine up to Rs 5 lakh or imprisonment up to three years.