A week ago, the central government sent out a controversial central government notification banning the sale of cattle for slaughter at animal markets. Since then, the rule has fused the Opposition together, angered many states and sparked a storm of protests across the country.
Opponents of the rule say the BJP-led Centre is trying to infringe into a state subject and that the government has no business dictating what people should eat. A number of states have also rejected the notification. Here’s what is happening on the issue:
The southern state has seen the biggest protests against the rule since last week. Beef fests have been held in several parts of Kerala, where the meat forms a major part of daily diets.
During one such protest by the state Youth Congress, a calf was slaughtered in public, triggering a public outcry that led to the suspension of three members. Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has rejected the notification, but the high court has said nothing in the rule banned beef consumption.
Kerala’s neighbouring state has seen mounting protests over the rule. The Madras high court has put the notification on hold for four weeks and opposition DMK has held several beef fests. At IIT-Madras, a participant in a similar beef fest was thrashed allegedly by right-wing students, triggering massive demonstrations across Chennai.
Karnataka chief minister K Siddaramaiah has said it wasn’t mandatory to follow every central notification as the matter was under the state. A state minister has said the rule will restrict many cultural practices.
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee has rejected the rule and said her state won’t follow the “unconstitutional” guidelines. She has also called the timing of the rule – right before Ramzan – suspicious.
The Left-ruled Tripura has said it will not implement the Centre’s rule as it will hurt people’s livelihoods.
The chief of BJP ally National People’s Party (NPP), Conrad Sangma, has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi arguing against the new regulations, saying it will hurt the socio-cultural and economic milieu of millions. The BJP has said it will slash prices of beef if elected to power.
The Naga People’s Front, which leads the government in Nagaland in an alliance with the BJP, has said there are “no questions” of implementing the Centre’s notification.
The Congress government in Mizoram has said the state won’t implement the Centre’s notification.