Kerala passes resolution against Centre’s ‘fascist move’ to ban sale of cattle for slaughter
The Kerala Assembly today passed a resolution resisting the central government’s ban on sale of cattle for slaughter and termed it as a ‘fascist’ move.
All lawmakers of the ruling Left Democratic Front and the opposition United Democratic Front unanimously passed the resolution at a special session of the Assembly. The long BJP MLA O Rajagopal, however, opposed the resolution, tabled by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
Rajagopal described the convening of the special session as a misuse of the Assembly to target the Centre and said that it ‘marked the launch of a larger alliance (Mahagatbandhan) of parties comprising both fronts against the BJP and the Centre’.
“This stance was quite evident. The session was convened for discussing a non-issue to create confusion and concern among the people for reaping cheap political gains,” he said.
“The notification was issued four months back on the basis of Supreme Court directions. There was no ban on meat sale. It was aimed at helping farmers. Though there were opportunities to register opinion against the notification, none has bothered to do it so far. The Centre has clarified that it was open to suggestions and also for amendments too. Still, both fronts were unwilling to accept it and were pursuing it for political gains,” he added.
The one-day session of the Assembly was called exclusively to discuss the cattle ban notification issued last month.
MLAs of the ruling and opposition parties held that it was not only an ‘intrusion’ into state's rights, but also an ‘infringement’ on the rights of people on the choice of their food habits.
The House also passed a resolution asking the Centre to withdraw the notification.
The attack on CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury at AKG Centre in New Delhi yesterday also had its echo in the assembly here with the party members alleging that RSS was trying to ‘silence’ political rivals through ‘muscle power’.
The MLAs said that the ban on sale of cattle for slaughter in the animal market was not only communal, but also essentially anti-working class and anti-farmer.
It thus has to be withdrawn, they said.
They also alleged that the move was an attempt at corporatisation of the meat-trading sector, which was now an additional source of income for small and medium farmers.
Moving the resolution Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan slammed the Centre, saying the ban was to implement the political agenda of Sangh Parivar.
"The NDA government, that has failed to fulfil any of its promises, was raking up issues such as cattle slaughter to divide the people through communal polarisation for political gains," he said.
Vijayan also brought to the notice of the assembly the serious 'adverse' consequences the ban would have on various sectors including agriculture, dairy, leather industry and meat export trade.
"The notification is impractical in Kerala where 95 per cent of the population is non-vegetarian. It is clearly an intrusion into the citizens choice of food," he added.
On the impact on state's meat trade, Vijayan said every year 2.5 lakh tonnes of meat worth Rs 6,552 crore was sold in Kerala annually.
Vijayan also mentioned the farmers’ unrest in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra and said the community was already in crisis and the new decision would further add to their woes.
The Chief Minister said that the state government would implead in the connected case pending in the Supreme Court.
Describing the notification as another “surgical strike" by the Modi government "like the note ban", opposition leader in assembly Ramesh Chennithala said this was "a sign of arrival of fascism" in the country.
"Modi has transformed himself into 'abhinava Hitler' (neo Hitler)," he alleged.
Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan said there seems to be an "indirect interest" behind the notification.
CPI(M) veteran and former Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan, KC-M leader K M Mani were among those who spoke on the occasion.
The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) notified the stringent Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017 under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 on May 25, banning the sale and purchase of cattle from animal markets for slaughter.
Kerala government was the first to protest against the Centre's notification. It has also decided to convene a meeting of all Chief Ministers to discuss the issue.
Vijayan had also written to his counterparts in other states asking them to "stand together" and "oppose" the ban and urged the Prime Minister to withdraw the new regulations. The Chief Minister had also written to Modi opposing the ban and urging him to withdraw the new regulations.
Beef fests were held in various parts of the state last month to protest against the ban with some youth Congress activists in Kannur publicly slaughtering a calf to register their protest.
With PTI Inputs