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Outrage in Kerala against cattle trade norms, Pinarayi Vijayan writes to PM Modi

LiveMint logoLiveMint 27-05-2017 Nidheesh M.K.

Bengaluru: Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi raising a number of issues on the centre’s new norms on cattle trade and asked for a repeal, while the state is witnessing a popular outrage against the restrictions.

In response towards the new norms, Student Federation of India (SFI), a student body affiliated with Vijayan’s ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist), or CPM, held beef fests in 210 centres across the state on Saturday, where they slaughtered cattle, cooked and served to the public for free.

The Kerala Students Union (KSU) of the opposition Congress also held beef fests in two cities, while writers and other eminent personalities came out against the new rules. The development also evoked strong reactions in social media, where movie personalities among others have come out against the centre.

The united opposition against the centre has put in a spot Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has been trying to increase its presence as opposition in the state. While BJP-ruled states have clamped down on cow slaughter, for instance, the agenda has few takers in Kerala where beef is preferred over other meat.

The new rules are bound to make an impact on the meat export industry, nutrition of the poor and culinary habits of dalits, minorities, among the others, said Vijayan in the letter. Several state owned meat processing industries across the country, like Kerala’s Meat Products of India Ltd, would become unviable because of the new regulations and hence would be forced to shut down, he said.

ALSO READ : Aim of cattle trade ban is to protect animals, end smuggling: Government

“The absence of efforts to take the states into confidence on such a drastic move with far-reaching consequences is detrimental to our democracy. I am afraid it amounts to an intrusion into the rights of the states in our federal structure. The introduction of such restrictions in a hasty manner would certainly prove to be a challenge in upholding our plurality, the essence of our nation. It would also be against the principles of secularism and federalism enshrined in our constitution,” he said.

The letter also said that the restrictions would have a serious impact on farmers, the majority of who may not have documentation to prove that they are engaged in agriculture. It would be extremely difficult for the vast majority of the farmers to legally procure draught animals used for agriculture and other domestic purposes and the constitution of District Animal Market Monitoring Committees and an Animal Market Committees, as suggested will also jeopardise the free hand trade of cattle between farmers in our country, said Vijayan. He also expressed fears of such regulatory bodies themselves taking upon themselves the role of “Gau Rakshak Samitis”, which have conducted attacks on cattle traders and transporters in the recent past.

“...repeal the newly imposed restrictions, so that the lives and livelihoods of millions of our fellow countrymen can be protected while safeguarding the fundamental principles of our constitution,” he said.

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