Cattle trade restrictions won’t affect party in region: BJP’s Northeast chiefs
The Centre’s notification banning cattle trade for slaughter has led to controversy in Meghalaya, Nagaland and Mizoram\, which have a dominant Christian population and consumption of beef is common.india Updated: Jun 07, 2017 23:11 IST
The Centre’s notification banning cattle trade for slaughter has led to resignations of BJP leaders in Meghalaya and triggered discontent in other northeastern states, but the party’s state unit chiefs claim the issue won’t affect their expansion plans in the region.
Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh had already told mediapersons on Monday that the state’s first BJP-led government won’t implement any notification which would violate people’s food habits.
The BJP is in power in Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh, and plans to expand further into Mizoram, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura — states where assembly elections are due next year.
BJP national president Amit Shah is expected to visit Arunachal Pradesh next week as part of the saffron party’s northeast expansion plan.
The Centre’s notification has led to controversy in Meghalaya, Nagaland and Mizoram, which have a dominant Christian population and consumption of beef is common.
“It may have some impact now, but by the time elections are held, it will become insignificant. The Congress government here is spreading lies on the issue and we need to educate the public that the notification won’t hurt their food habits,” JV Hluna, the BJP’s Mizoram unit chief, told HT.
In the past week, BJP’s two district unit presidents in Garo Hills region of Meghalaya quit after their plan to organise a beef-rice beer party to mark the three years of Narendra Modi’s government was turned down by the leadership.
“We welcome the resignations. There’s nothing to worry about and this talk of a blanket ban on consumption of beef, due to the restrictions, is fabricated,” said Shibun Lyngdoh, the Meghalaya president of the party.
According to the Meghalaya animal husbandry department, a total of 88,313 cattle (41,469 brought from outside the state) were slaughtered in 2015-2016. During the same period, 1,558 buffaloes — all reared within the state —were slaughtered.
Except Assam, where maximum penalty for butchering cattle (except for those with a ‘fit for slaughter’ certificate) is 6 months in jail and Rs1000 in fine, there is no ban on slaughter of cattle in the other states in northeast.
The beef/buffalo market in the northeast isn’t very organised or regulated. There is some concern about availability of beef for consumption due to smuggling of cattle to Bangladesh.
Nagaland state unit president V Lhoungu termed the latest controversy as a non issue as the Naga People’s Front-led state government (of which BJP is a minor partner) has already made it clear that the notification won’t be implemented in the state.
“What someone eats inside their homes is an individual issue. The BJP is not concerned with it. Importantly, it is for the states to decide whether they want those restrictions and it is unlikely to get implemented in our state,” said Arunachal Pradesh BJP chief Tapir Gao.
The party’s Assam unit chief Ranjeet Kumar Das told HT that the notification was unlikely to have any impact on the BJP in the state.
Tripura unit vice-president Subal Bhowmik urged the Left Front government to implement the Centre’s notification as it would help curb smuggling of cattle to Bangladesh.
On Monday, Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh had told media persons that the state’s first BJP-led government won’t implement any notification which would violate people’s food habits.
(With inputs from Priyanka Deb Barman in Agartala and Sobhapati Samom in Imphal)