NEW DELHI: As protests against the Central government’s ban on sale of cattle for slaughter at animal markets spread across south India, the Kerala government has said it will hold an all-party meet to discuss the way forward. “What we eat cannot be decided by Delhi or Nagpur,” Kerala’s Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan of the Left said today, referring to the BJP, which leads the Centre, and the party’s ideological mentor the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) which is headquartered in Maharashtra’s Nagpur. Pondicherry chief minister V Narayanasamy of the Congress has demanded that the Centre withdraw its order.
Here are the 10 latest developments in this big story:
- Kerala Agriculture Minister VS Sunilkumar said the state government could challenge the new environment ministry order in court. The ruling CPM has hosted “beef fests” at about 200 places in the state to protest against the new rules issued by the union environment ministry.
- Most parties of Kerala — where beef is part of culinary tradition — have strongly opposed the new rule from the environment ministry, which is applicable across the country.Only the BJP has welcomed it in the state.
- Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, protesting against the order. He also said it will not come into effect in Kerala till he gets a response.
- While the Kerala Congress has also opposed the Central order and is observing a “black day” today, the open slaughter of an ox by Youth Congress workers in Kannur has come as a dampener. Party vice president Rahul Gandhi has called the incident “barbaric”. The workers involved have been suspended.
- Tamil Nadu’s opposition DMK is planning a protest on May 31 against the Centre’s rule. The party’s working president MK Stalin will lead the protest. The Centre, the DMK said, has “snatched away” the fundamental right to choice of food given by the Constitution.
- Beef is currently not banned in Tamil Nadu and the DMK has hit out at the E Palaniswami-led AIADMK government for “keeping mum” on the issue when neighbouring Kerala and Karnataka have opposed it.
- The AIADMK government has not formally responded to the Central notification. Over the weekend, Chief Minister Edapadi Palaniswami said, “I can only respond after reading the full order. I cannot react to media reports”.
- Puducherry’s Congress Chief Minister V Narayanasamy said the order “shows the Centre’s autocratic attitude”. “Puducherry is connected to French culture. There are people who eat meat and beef. The Centre has no right to stop them,” he said.
- Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said the state has not received any notification from the Centre yet. “We will look into the matter and then decide,” he said. After coming to power, the Congress government of Mr Siddaramaiah had reversed a law made by the previous BJP government banning cow slaughter in the state.
- Indian states have the power to pass their own laws on cattle slaughter and beef consumption. This is why, besides some of the southern states, beef is allowed in parts of northeast India and West Bengal. But the recent notification from the Union Environment ministry comes under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and is applicable across India.