The Union government’s ban on the sale of cattle across the country for slaughter purpose hasn’t gone well with many states as they are up in arms against the decision.
The environment ministry had last week notified ban on sale and purchase of cattle from animal markets for slaughter while prohibiting cruel practices on them.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had on Monday termed the Centre’s notification on cattle slaughter as a “deliberate attempt to encroach upon the state’s powers” and affirmed her government would not accept it. Banerjee said that she would approach the court and challenge it.
She has also expressed concern that the order has been passed just as the Muslim holy month of Ramadan has begun.Further, she said that just as the central govt is an elected one, the state government too has its own jurisdiction. The WB CM also termed the center’s decision as an undemocratic and unconstitutional one.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan too has upped the ante against the decision and on Monday shot off letters to his counterparts in other states asking them to "stand together" and "oppose" the ban on sale of cattle for slaughter apart from urging the Prime Minister to withdraw the new regulations.
"Unless we stand together and oppose this anti-federal, anti-democratic and anti-secular move, it may mark the beginning of a series of similar measures aimed at destroying the federal democratic fabric and secular culture of our country," Vijayan said in his letter. He also said that since the matters dealt within the rules squarely fall within the purview of state legislatures, the state governments should be allowed to formulate necessary policies and laws to suit the socio-cultural and economic milieu of the state.
Vijayan said it was nothing but a "covert attempt to usurp the powers of state legislatures" in the guise of rules under a Central Act.Beef Fests’ were held in various parts of Kerala on Saturday to protest the Centre’s decision of banning sale and purchase of cattle from animal markets for slaughter.
Activists of the ruling CPI(M)-led LDF, opposition Congress-headed UDF and their youth wings took out marches and organised these fests across the state, where beef is widely consumed. However, some Congress activists allegedly butchered a calf in public before distributing its meat for free to onlookers.
The Karnataka government too is contemplating challenging the Centre's new rule in court. "We are studying the Centre's notification, and it appears very confusing. We have to see if the new regulation conforms to the 1960 law," said T B Jayachandra, Karnataka's law minister.
The move had drawn huge criticism and even Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi had termed it as barbaric.The move has also earned opposition in Tamil Nadu as the rebel AIADMK (Puratchi Thalaivi Amma) faction asked the Centre on Monday to withdraw its ban on sale of cattle for slaughter, saying it should not treat views expressed against the move as opposition and respect people's sentiments in this matter. Maharashtra had become the first state in India to ban sale and consumption of beef in the early part of 2017 after President Pranab Mukherjee gave his assent to the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Bill, 1995, nearly 19 years after the Maharashtra Assembly passed the Bill during the BJP-Shiv Sena rule in 1995.
The slaughter of cows was previously prohibited in the state under the Maharashtra Animal Preservation Act of 1976. However, the passage of the new Act banned the slaughter of bulls as well as bullocks. Now, anyone found to be selling beef or in possession of it can be jailed for five years and fined Rs 10,000.
Let's have a look at rules regarding cattle slaughter and consumption of beef in several states:
Cows can be slaughtered if old or diseased. Possession, however, is not a crime. According to a bill proposed by the BJP in 2010, cow slaughter made slaughter punishable by 7 years’ jail and Rs 1 lakh fine. The bill is still pending for approval in Karnataka assembly.
Slaughter of “cow, calf, heifer, bull or bullock” prohibited; possession, transport of their flesh prohibited. 10 years’ imprisonment and/or Rs 10,000 fine.
ANDHRA PRADESH & TELANGANA
Offenders face jail term for six months and/or Rs 1,000 fine.
Cow slaughter banned except on issue of ‘fit-for-slaughter’ certificate at designated places
Slaughter of cows, calves banned; of bulls, bullocks older than 15 years allowed. Violators face 6 months’ jail and/or Rs 1,000 fine
Slaughter of cow, calf, bull and bullock; transport, sale of their meat banned. Punishment: Rs 50,000 fine, up to 7 years’ jail. Buffalo meat, or carabeef, is allowed.