Kerala holds beef fests to protest centre’s ban 

The notification to ban sale of cattle for slaughter in animal markets, without consultation and taking states into confidence came in for sharp criticism on Saturday


NH National Bureau

The Environment Ministry’s notification to ban the sale and purchase of cattle in animal markets for slaughter was on Saturday hailed by organisations running cow shelters (Gaushalas) and condemned by people in various states.

‘Beef Fests’ were held in various parts of Kerala on Saturday to protest the Centre's decision even as Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said he would approach the Prime Minister in this matter.

Kerala Chief Minister took the lead to protest the move. In a strongly-worded statement he described the notification as a move to deprive the poor of their right to food. Meat, he pointed out, was the staple for millions of people all over the country and the Centre had exceeded its jurisdiction in notifying the fiat.

The environment ministry has notified the stringent Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017, under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

According to the notification, the member secretary of an animal market committee will have to ensure that no person brings a young animal to the animal market.

The Environment Ministry claimed that it had posted the draft notification in January this year and had invited objections. However most affected people seem to have been caught unawares and were plainly ignorant about the move.

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.

The ban is expected to hit export and trade of meat and leather. Demonstrations were held outside the secretariat in the state capital where the protesters cooked and distributed beef on the road side.

“We will eat beef to show our protest against the central government. We want to tell this to Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” said Mohammed Riyaz, DYFI national president, who led the protest.

In Kollam district, a group of Congress workers cooked beef in front of the DCC office to register its opposition to the Centre’s decision. District unit chief of Congress, Bindu Krishna told reporters that “beef delicacy will be packed and sent to head post office for delivery to Modiji”.

Chief Minister Vijayan said he would be sending a letter to the Prime Minister this evening.

In Kochi, Tourism and Devaswom minister Kadakampally Surendran participated in a 'beef fest', where bread and beef curry was served, even as Youth Congress activists took out a protest march in the city.

In Thodupuzha, in Idukki district, protesters took out a march with the head of a buffalo.

Reacting to the Centre's decision, senior Congress leader and former Union Minister AK Antony said the notification should be “torn to bits” and “dumped in a dust bin”.

The UDF will observe 'black day' on Monday against the ban, opposition leader in the assembly Ramesh Chennithala said at Thrissur.

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Published: 27 May 2017, 8:30 PM