Chal­lenge cat­tle ban, don’t tar­get an­i­mals

Deccan Chronicle - - EDIT -

Two re­cent in­ci­dents in Ker­ala — with the CPI(M) stu­dents’ wing throw­ing a beef party to protest against the Cen­tre’s reg­u­la­tion ban­ning the sale of farm an­i­mals for slaugh­ter at cat­tle mar­kets, and the com­pet­i­tive “mil­i­tancy” by the state Youth Congress in slaugh­ter­ing a calf in pub­lic and dis­tribut­ing its meat — are hair-rais­ing, un­civilised, and morally de­crepit. They do noth­ing to en­hance the so­called sec­u­lar cre­den­tials of the or­gan­is­ers.

The Cen­tre’s no­ti­fi­ca­tion is faulty for var­i­ous rea­sons, and should be dras­ti­cally amended or with­drawn. The Madu­rai bench of the Madras high court has in any case stayed it for four weeks, and sought the govern­ment’s re­sponse. It ba­si­cally hits at the em­ploy­ment of lakhs of peo­ple, mainly those from the mi­nor­ity com­mu­nity who de­pend on the meat trade that earns the coun­try mil­lions of dol­lars in ex­ports. But it also gives the im­pres­sion that it helps the agenda of cow-vig­i­lante bri­gades, de­scribed by a top jour­nal­ist-in­tel­lec­tual and former NDA min­is­ter as “de­cen­tralised goondaism”, of forc­ing the coun­try to fall in line with di­etary pro­hi­bi­tions of caste Hin­dus in most parts of the coun­try against cow meat.

To al­low cow slaugh­ter or not is a state sub­ject, and bar­ring West Ben­gal, Ker­ala and some north­east­ern states, the other states pro­hibit it, no mat­ter who rules them. This is in def­er­ence to pre­vail­ing Hindu re­li­gious sen­ti­ment in these parts, but buf­falo meat is not banned. Mus­lims have raised no ob­jec­tion to this. The present Central guide­lines also in­clude the buf­falo meat in­dus­try and af­fect lakhs of jobs. The Cen­tre’s rules and guide­lines has jus­ti­fi­ably riled West Ben­gal CM Ma­mata Ban­er­jee, who has spo­ken of the breach of the fed­eral prin­ci­ple, and the DMK in Tamil Nadu. But it is peev­ish of these en­ti­ties to hint at an agi­ta­tion that could get out of hand. They should not give the im­pres­sion that, in sen­ti­ment, they are not dis­tanc­ing them­selves from the rep­re­hen­si­ble Ker­ala in­ci­dents.

A prom­i­nent BJP Union min­is­ter from Arunachal Pradesh, Kiren Ri­jiju, had re­cently de­clared he ate cow meat, and this was com­mon in his state. That’s his look­out. In­dia is a com­plex na­tion with vary­ing re­gional tra­di­tions. The Cen­tre shouldn’t ride roughshod on them. Congress vice-pres­i­dent Rahul Gandhi has done the right thing by de­scrib­ing the Ker­ala Youth Congress’ ac­tions as “thought­less” and “un­civilised”. In mat­ters like di­etary tra­di­tions and re­li­gious habits, Ma­hatma Gandhi shows the way. As a de­vout Hindu, for him killing the cow for meat was like tak­ing his mother’s life. But he is on record as say­ing he wouldn’t im­pose his views on oth­ers. The young CPI(M) and Congress bri­gades in Ker­ala should have protested through nor­mal po­lit­i­cal means. But to kill an­i­mals to fur­ther po­lit­i­cal agen­das is shock­ing and de­praved.

The young CPI(M) and Congress bri­gades in Ker­ala should have protested through nor­mal po­lit­i­cal means, even vo­cif­er­ously. But to kill an­i­mals to fur­ther po­lit­i­cal agen­das is shock­ing and de­praved

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