Slaughtering cows now punishable with life imprisonment in Gujarat

Shehab Khan
A cow stands next to a shuttered store as a biker rides past on a street in Bangalore: MANJUNATH KIRAN/AFP/Getty Images

Slaughtering cows will now be punishable with life imprisonment in the Indian state of Gujarat.

Politicians passed a law that will also includes 10-years behind bars for anyone found guilty of transporting beef.

Cows are considered sacred by Hindus and the killing of cows is illegal in many states across the nation.

"A cow is not an animal. It is a symbol of universal life," Gujarat Law Minister Pradipsinh Jadeja told the state's assembly, according to Al Jazeera. "Anybody who does not spare the cow, the government will not spare him."

The fines for committing the crime have also been doubled from 50,000 rupees (£615) to 100,000 rupees (£1230).

Gujarat now has the toughest laws in India on the slaughter of cows.

The issue itself is a hot topic in India and can often lead to religious riots and murderous reprisals.

In 2015 a 50-year-old Muslim man who was accused of eating beef was dragged from his home and beaten to death by a mob.