Where You Can and Can’t Eat Beef in India – India Real Time – WSJ

The treatment of cows, animals considered sacred by India’s Hindu majority, has long stirred political controversy in the country –and now conservatives, emboldened by the first year of the Hindu nationalist government, are stepping up their campaign to protect them.

In many Indian states, the slaughter of cows is already illegal, making it difficult to buy, sell, and, as a result, eat, beef.

Some conservative Hindus want Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party government to enact a federal law banning cow slaughter. They are “encouraged to be aggressive under the Modi regime and this is to be expected,” said Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar, an Indian specialist at the Cato Institute in Washington.

 

The party argues that protecting the animal is in line with India’s constitution, which includes language calling for the prohibition of the slaughter of cows.

In Maharashtra, where killing the animal is illegal, a new law in March banned the possession of beef and also the slaughter of bulls and bullocks. Running afoul of the new law can lead to a jail term of up to five years or a fine of up to 10,000 rupees ($156) or both.

The amendment was passed by the state government in 1995 and received the president’s nod in March.

In the same month, the state assembly of Haryana passed a bill containing stricter punishments for the animal’s slaughter. It is still waiting for the president’s approval, a senior official at the state’s animal husbandry department said.

States such as Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Punjab, which are at the heart of India’s buffalo meat industry, have also imposed complete bans on killing cows. The practice is outlawed in the capital city of Delhi. Other major states with bans include Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka and Orissa.

In Gujarat, Mr. Modi’s home state, India’s Supreme Court upheld the state’s law that prohibits killing of cows, bulls and bullocks in 2005, overturning the decision of the Gujarat High Court that ruled against a blanket ban on bull and bullock slaughter. But in 2011, sentences for people caught killing cows were increased from six months to seven years.

West Bengal, which has a higher than average population of Muslims, is slightly more lenient and allows the killing of cows if they are “fit-for-slaughter.”  A senior official in the animal husbandry department in Assam said that such a certificate would also permit the slaughter of cows in that state but usually only during the Islamic religious festival of Eid.

Overall, 24 of India’s 29 states–including the newest state of Telangana–have imposed penalties  and restrictions of varying degrees on the slaughter of cows and other cattle.

Meanwhile, in the southern state of Kerala, where beef dishes are popular and which has a larger than average proportion of Christians, there is no statewide legislation restricting cow slaughter.

And the northeastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and the territory of Lakshadweep also have no legislation banning or prohibiting slaughter of cows and other cattle.

Rajnath Singh, India’s home minister, failed to persuade Parliament to pass nationwide legislation banning the slaughter of cows in 2003 when he was agriculture minister. “The moment I rose to present the bill in the Parliament, there was an uproar and the bill couldn’t be passed,” he said in a speech in March.

This time, however, Mr. Singh said the government will do everything in its power to ban cow slaughter in the country. But BJP’s success in getting such a legislation cleared by the Parliament is not guaranteed as it is short of a majority in the upper house.

via Where You Can and Can’t Eat Beef in India – India Real Time – WSJ.

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One Comment to “Where You Can and Can’t Eat Beef in India – India Real Time – WSJ”

  1. Where You Can and Can’t Eat Beef in India —-I have read the above with interest.

    As everyone knows that India is a vast country with various faiths/religions and believes and everyone has the same right under the India’s Democratic System.

    Nationwide legislation banning the slaughter of cows is not appropriate. The reasons are given above. Therefore 24 of the 29 states imposing penalties and restrictions of varying degree on the slaughter of cows and other animals, is perhaps the reasonable solution to this problem.

    Like

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