“I love beef. I don’t understand why I am forced to quit,” said a Mahim resident, giving voice to the beef eaters in the state.
As the news of the ban on slaughtering cows, bulls, bullocks and calves, and on the possession of beef spread, she wondered if the move was a step towards “forced vegetarianism”. “Beef is a staple diet for many who eat it in the form of curries or roasts. Most can’t afford mutton or chicken daily,” added the entrepreneur, who runs a catering business.
Gordon D’souza, president of Bombay Catholic Sabha, said the community was rather surprised by the ban. “The change will affect many families and disturb their diet,” he said. Questioning the argument by various right-wing organisations pushing the bill that the animal is revered by Hindus, he added, “Why put a blanket ban? One can always choose not to eat it.”
“By imposing the ban, the government has made a decision of choosing my menu. How can the government decide what I eat?” asked Abraham Mathai, president, Indian Christian Voice.
Mohammad Shahid, a businessman from Mazgaon, said the ban would hit the poor. “In terms of price, beef costs almost as much as vegetables or pulses. It’s as if the government wants to convert us to vegetarianism,” he said.
Aslam Qureshi, president of the All India Sheep and Goat Breeders and Dealers Association, said the price of mutton would rise by Rs 100 within the next two weeks. “The city is all set to witness a shortage of mutton,” he said.
Meanwhile, Venkatesh Abdeo, Maharshtra chief of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, said ‘the Hindu community was grateful to the government for respecting their religious sentiments’.