While the BJP govt happy by imposing a nationwide ban on the sale of cattle, and slaughtering of cows, the ban pushing millions of farmers into poverty, deepening distress in the countryside and fanning resentment against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling party.
India which stand as the world’s largest exporter of beef, have never seen ban, though cow considered sacred in Hinduism.
But over the past year, states ruled by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), especially Maharashtra, have broadened the ban to include other types of cattle, like bulls and bullocks, and Hindu vigilantes have stepped up attacks on traders to enforce the prohibition.
The impact of the beef ban resulted in, Prices of cattle have fallen across the country, meat exports fell 13 percent in the April-December period and rival beef supplier Brazil is gaining from India’s loss.
The beef ban may not have effected much to the minorities living in India, but surely it has also left millions of farmers in lurch.
Farmers who are under eddy of worries due to back-to-back droughts and unseasonal rain, more to their worries, they are struggling to sell their animals, unable to feed or water the cattle. Farmer suicides have nearly doubled in the drought-hit Marathwada region of Maharashtra.
Standing next to a pair of bulls, Revaji Choudhary who has been trying to sell it for weeks in a cattle market in Maharashtra, says “I wonder what the government wants – our survival or the cattle’s?.
“Many farmers are simply abandoning their cattle,” he said.
Maharashtra BJP legislator Bhimrao Dhonde said the government’s priority should be to support farmers, and they should be allowed to sell their cattle to whomever they want. “It is time to withdraw the ban,” Dhonde told reporters.
Hindu groups such as the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) that had promised to build shelters said that, they too were short on cash and the government should do more.
Laxmi Narayan Chandak, head of the Maharashtra unit of VHP’s cow protection committee, said his organization has been able to start only one facility that holds 150 cattle.”Only pure Indian breeds “that are worthy of worship” should be sheltered”, Chandak said.
“We are forced to depend on tankers for drinking water. How can we supply water to cattle?” Choudhary asked.