The DMK has threatened to start a nationwide agitation from May 31.
New Delhi/Kolkata/ Chennai: Facing flak from several states over its cattle slaughter ban order, the government is considering tweaking the rules to exempt buffaloes from the ban. Many state governments, particularly West Bengal and Kerala, have attacked the Centre over this move. The DMK has threatened to start a nationwide agitation from May 31.
Declaring that her government would not accept this “undemocratic and unconstitutional” ban, which she also described as “anti-federal” and an attempt to encroach on states’ rights, Trinamul Congress boss and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said her government was likely to challenge it in court and that she was going to consult the state advocate-general.
“I will request the Centre not to interfere with states’ matters and destroy the federal structure,” Ms Banerjee added.
Protests, meanwhile, erupted across Kerala, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal on Monday over the decision. A beef festival was also organised at the IIT Madas.
The notification issued by the environment ministry on May 23 banned the sale or purchase of animals for slaughter and those trading have to give an undertaking that these animals are bought for agricultural purposes.
The ministry said it was getting representations from various quarters, including meat exporters and NGOs, and would take a decision only after going through the entire gamut of representations. While Kerala’s LDF, the Trinamul Congress in West Bengal, the DMK in Tamil Nadu and meat exporters are against the ban, animal rights activists want the government to go ahead with its decision.
“We have received representations from various quarters and are in the process of considering them. No decision has been taken,” environment ministry sources said. “The ministry is considering keeping in mind opposition from the states and also West Bengal’s threat to take legal recourse on the matter,” an official said. The regulation for cattle business notified last week covers bulls, bullocks, cows, buffaloes, steers, heifers and calves, as well as camels.
While a political slugfest raged over the ban, the BJP hit out at the Congress over the public slaughter of a calf in Kerala by its youth wing leaders. Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said it was unfortunate that Youth Congress leaders publicly slaughtered the animal when the Constitution seeks to prohibit cow slaughter.
“This is shameful and in many ways provocative. Political opposition happens but it is unfortunate that such an act has been committed... that too by Youth Congress workers. It is unfortunate,” the minister told reporters in New Delhi.
In Tamil Nadu, raising the pitch on the issue, the state’s Opposition parties urged the AIADMK government to enact a law against the ban. The DMK attacked the E.K. Palaniswami government for “keeping mum” on this as neighbouring Kerala and Karnataka had vehemently opposed the ban. DMK working president M.K. Stalin will lead a protest on May 31 in Chennai against the ban, the party said, adding that “the fundamental right to the choice of food granted by the Constitution has been snatched away”.