‘Beef Fests’ were held in Kerala today, as Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan shot off a letter to the Prime Minister to protest the Centre’s decision of banning sale and purchase of cattle from animal markets for slaughter, saying the move amounted to an “intrusion” into the rights of the states.
The rules should have been introduced in consultation with the states, Vijayan said in a two-page letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, even as political parties and their youth outfits staged protests by holding ‘Beef Fests’.
“Absence of efforts to take the states into confidence on such a drastic move, with far reaching consequences, is detrimental to our democracy,” Vijayan said.
“I am afraid it amounts to an intrusion into the rights of the state in our federal structure,” he added.
He said meat was the primary source of protein for millions of the poor and ordinary people in the country, particularly Dalits.
Such restrictions being imposed on the eve of Ramzan, would certainly appear to certain communities in the country as a “direct attack on them,” Vijayan said.
He said people of all faiths consume meat, not just minorities. Once the prohibition comes into force, it will not only deprive them of adequate nutrition, but also prevent the availability of raw material for the leather industry, he added.
Vijayan said in Kerala and in other South Indian and North Eastern states vast majority of people consume meat and sought repeal of the ban.
Protesting the ban, activists of the ruling CPI(M)-led LDF, opposition UDF spearheaded by Congress and their youth wings took out marches and organised beef fests across the state, where beef is widely consumed.
The Centre has banned the sale and purchase of cattle from animal markets for slaughter, a move that is expected to hit export and trade of meat and leather.
Demonstrations were held outside the secretariat in Thiruvanathapuram where the protesters cooked and distributed beef on the road side.
“We will eat beef to show our protest against the central government. We want to tell this to Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” DYFI national president Mohammed Riyaz, who led the protest, said.
In Kollam district, a group of congress workers cooked beef in front of the DCC office to register its opposition to the Centre’s decision.
District congress unit chief Bindu Krishna told reporters that “beef delicacy will be packed and sent to head post office for delivery to Modiji.”
At Kochi, Tourism and Devaswom minister Kadakampally Surendran participated in a ‘beef fest’, where bread and beef curry was served, even as Youth Congress activists took out a protest march in the city.
At Kannur, Youth congress activists publicly butchered a cow to protest against the central notification while in Thodupuzha in Idukki district, protesters took out a march with the head of a buffalo.
The environment ministry has notified the stringent ‘Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017’ under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
Reacting to the Centre’s decision, senior Congress leader and former union minister A K Antony said the notification should be “torn to bits” and “dumped in a dust-bin”.
The UDF will observe ‘black day’ on Monday against the ban, opposition leader in the assembly Ramesh Chennithala said at Thrissur.
Chennithala also wrote to Modi against the new law.
UDF workers will wear black badges and take out protest marches, he said.