The third rally in Mumbai to protest beef ban on Tuesday failed to make a huge impact.
Organised by several trade organisations, some politically-backed, the rally from Byculla to Azad Maidan saw less than 100 beef traders.
The organisers blamed the poor turnout on miscommunication as many traders were not aware of the exact date of the protest. “But, we have not given up fighting against the government over the ban,” said a senior member of Mumbai Suburban Beef Dealers’ Association, requesting anonymity.
The recent amendment to the Maharashtra Animal Preservation Act that extends the ban on cow slaughter to bulls and bullocks has affected farmers, traders and abattoir workers.
Recently, the traders had appealed to the government to allow slaughter of Jersey cows – a dairy cow originally bred in the Channel Island of Jersey and not considered sacred in India.
On Tuesday, they demanded the amendment to be scrapped altogether. “Since the government has reportedly told the media that the solution is not viable, we want nothing less than the ban to be rolled back,” said a senior member of the traders’ association.
Layak Qureshi, whose beef shop at Powai is now shut, was among the protesters.
“Now, my family is dependent on the earnings of my wife, who is a tailor,” he said.
Mohommad Attik, a beef trader, too, was hit by the beef ban. He had to change his profession and join an export company for his daily bread. “My income have gone down. It’s sad that I cannot do the only job I knew,” he said.
Vidya Chawan, a spokesperson of New Trade Union Initiative (NTUI), said the organisation was against the government’s interference in people’s diet. “We are not supporting a particular community but traders in general,” she said.
Vijay Dalvi, secretary of Sarvashramik Sangh said, “We had expected a huge crowd, but we erroneously wrote the rally date as ‘15’ instead of ‘5’ at many places. So, people didn’t turn up.”