The Indian State of Gujarat have made it a capital offense to kill a cow, a sacred animal in Hindu.

The state, which the present Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, is a native of, increased the penalty from seven years to life imprisonment as Hindu hardliners push for tougher protections for the holy animal.   

Under the stiffened penalties passed by Gujarat’s state assembly, anyone caught transporting cows for slaughter could also face up to 10 years in jail.   

Cows are considered sacred in Hindu-majority India, and their slaughter is illegal in most states.   

“A cow is not an animal. It is symbol of universal life,” Gujarat Law Minister Pradipsinh Jadeja told the state’s assembly.   

“Anybody who does not spare the cow, the government will not spare him.”   

India crackdown on slaughterhouses stirs Muslim unease

The amendment still needs the approval of the state governor – a formality all but assured – before becoming law.   

Millions from India’s huge minority populations – including Muslims, Christians and lower-caste Hindus – eat beef, although it is not widely available.  

Squads of “cow protection” vigilantes are known to roam highways inspecting livestock trucks for any trace of the animal. 

In 2015, a 50-year-old Muslim man accused of eating beef was dragged from his home and beaten to death by a mob. Police later said it was mutton.

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