Kannur: Police on Sunday have booked 16 Youth Congress activists for slaughtering a cow in public and cooking its meat followed by its distribution. They were charged under IPC Section 428 and Section (ii) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960.
Congress-headed UDF opposition youth groups have organised these festivals to protest against government’s decision to ban sale and purchase of cattle from animal markets for slaughter, reported the HT.
“It is a thoughtless act and it will only help Sangh Parivar outfits. It is sad that Youth Congress activists stooped so low for publicity,” CPI(M) member of Parliament MB Rajesh said.
Though Kerala is one of the few states where cow slaughter is not banned, animal lovers said “such brazen acts” glorify cruelty towards animals and demanded action against Youth Congress activists.
The BJP had also criticised the slaughtering of the animal at a busy market of Kannur while the Congress asked its cadres to use restraint during protests.
BJP state president Kummanam Rajasekharan tweeted the video of slaughter, saying it was the “cruelty at its peak”.
Youth Congress activists defended their move, saying it was a natural form of protest. “The Centre is denying food to the people, it is the biggest cruelty,” Youth Congress leader Rejil Makutty said.
The Centre’s decision, which will hurt millions of poor farmers and squeeze supplies to the country’s Rs 1 lakh-crore meat industry, is being seen as a move to push the BJP’s alleged Hindutva agenda.
With increasing protest, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying the Centre couldn’t draw up a menu and change the food habits of 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, adding the decision would leave many people jobless. The state government is talking to legal experts to challenge the notification.
In Kerala at least 500,000 people are directly or indirectly involved in the cattle trade, slaughterhouses and allied areas. According to the state animal husbandry department data, 117,000 adult cattle and 70,000 young cattle were slaughtered in Kerala in 2016 where beef accounts for 60% of the total meat consumed.
Since most of the cattle come from the neighbouring Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, Kerala meat traders fear that the new notification will also shorten the supply.
Cow slaughter and smuggling are banned in most parts of the country but there are no restrictions on buffalo meat, which is eaten widely as a cheap source of protein. However, the new norms will also hit buffalo meat, which goes by different names globally and is also referred to as beef in India, a reason enough for the so-called cow protectors to assault people or even force shut down of eateries.