Kerala CM slams cattle sale ban; traders fear meat shortage  during Ramzan
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Kerala CM slams cattle sale ban; traders fear meat shortage during Ramzan

Left-ruled Kerala is furious at the Central government ban on the sale of cows for slaughter in livestock markets. And so are meat traders who fear meat shortage during Ramzan.

india Updated: May 28, 2017 23:37 IST
Ramesh Babu and Oliver Fedricks
Ramesh Babu and Oliver Fedricks
Hindustan Times, Thiruvananthapuram/Lucknow
Cattle sale ban,Cow slaughter,Kerala
Angry youth outfits at a beef festival Kannur in north Kerala to protest the central government's new notification regulating the sale of cows for slaughter. (HT PHOTO)

The central government’s ban on sale of cows and buffaloes in livestock markets for slaughter has raised the hackles of non-BJP state governments and meat traders alike.

The CPI(M)-led government is Kerala is exploring legal options to sidestep the ban while traders claim the move will reduce meat supply during the Islamic holy month of Ramzan starting from Sunday and will impact lives of millions of Muslims and Dalits.

The Union environment and forest ministry on Friday banned sale of cattle for slaughter in livestock markets, whose definition includes “liarage adjoining a market or a slaughter house”.

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday saying the Centre can’t prepare menu and change the food habits of the people.

“Today it is saying you can’t eat beef tomorrow it can say no to fish also. We will not allow this to happen in our state,” the CM said, as his government approaches legal experts to explore ways to overcome the new notification.

Read more:  Centre bans sale of cows for slaughter at animal markets, restricts cattle trade

Meat traders are equally indignant.

“It’s a clear interference in nature’s food cycle and nobody has right to do so, not even the Modi government,” said Mohammed Shabuddin Quraishi, president of Quraish welfare foundation that represents around 50,000 meat traders of Lucknow.

Vijayan said the rule will lead to loss of jobs in Kerala where at least five lakh people are directly or indirectly involved in cattle trade, slaughter houses and allied areas. Around 70% of Kerala’s 3.25 crore population is non-vegetarian.

In the north-east, where sale of beef is allowed, traders say it could lead to loss of job for many.

“Millions of poor will lose their livelihood source if the environment ministry’s new rule is enforced,” said S N Sabbarwal, director general of all India meat exporters association.

In a first protest against the ban, youth organisations in Kerala including Democratic Youth Federation of India (DFYI) and Youth Congress organised beef festivals at many places.

“The government is enforcing the agenda of RSS. It is out to vitiate the secular fabric of the country,” said DFYI all-India president Mohamed Riaz while inaugurating a beef festival outside the state secretariat. The Congress will observe a black day on Monday.

In Lucknow and Kanpur, traders say they will start protest as they have been left with no option. Haji Dilshad Ahmed, president of Jamiat-ul-Quraishi Gareeb Nawaaz - the meat traders’ representative body in Kanpur, said the new rule will reduce meat production during Ramzan in Uttar Pradesh, which accounted for highest beef export in 2016-17.

Meat traders in Kerala fear that the new notification will embolden Hindu fringe outfits in neighbouring states and they will disrupt transportation of animals. There are 44 cattle markets across the state and hundreds of truck loads reach these markets from Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

“Many truck drivers will now refuse to carry cattle fearing attacks. The state will face a big shortage if transportation is disrupted in neighbouring states,” said Kerala cattle merchants’ association president K H Kamaluddin.

(With inputs from Rahul Karmakar in Guwahati)

First Published: May 27, 2017 21:13 IST