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Govt open to suggestions on cattle slaughter notification, not viewing it as prestige issue: Union minister Harsh Vardhan

New Delhi: Amid a raging controversy over the government’s cattle slaughter notification, Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan on Sunday asserted that his ministry is open to suggestions and not viewing it as a prestige issue.

The purpose behind the notification was not to influence people’s food habits, affect slaughter business or to harm any particular group, he said.

“Suggestions that have been submitted will be reviewed. It is not a prestige issue for the government,” PTI quoted the minister as saying.

The minister made the comments in response to media queries if the suggestions sent by the political parties were being reviewed and if the government was open to considering alternative views on the issue.

The row over the fresh cattle slaughter rules has sparked a nationwide controversy and protests, with Kerala and West Bengal governments openly opposing the Centre’s notification.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee described the ban as undemocratic and unconstitutional and said her government will not accept it.

In Tamil Nadu, the Madras High Court stayed the order for four weeks after a petition was filed challenging the new rules.

The petition argued that the order is inimical to personal liberty, right to livelihood and encroachment into matters that are in the state’s domain.

However, the minister said, “Rules under Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, are not to influence food habits, or affect slaughtering business.”

The ministry has received several representations asking it to consider alternative views after the notification under Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

The decision is expected to hit export and trade in meat and leather.

The rules define cattle as a bovine animal including bulls, bullocks, cows, buffaloes, steers, heifers and calves and camels.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had earlier said that the ban has nothing to do with state laws on cow slaughter and concerns only with the place of sale.

Protests have been held in several parts of Tamil Nadu including Madurai, Coimbatore, Erode and Hosur. Several activists of a little known Tamil group were detained in Madurai where they had organised a beef-eating contest.

A group of students at IIT-Madras had also held ‘beef- fest’ at the campus on May 28.

The DMK has slammed the E K Palaniswami government for “keeping mum” on the matter when neighbouring Kerala and Karnataka had vehemently opposed the notification.

Source: Zee News