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Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, beef in Dadri: Mahesh Sharma issues latest series of assertions

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Dadri lynching: Meat found in Akhlaq’s fridge was mutton, not beef, says report

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‘No incentives for bovine meat exports’ says Commerce and Industry Min Nirmala Sitharaman

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Beef vs pork controversy in Osmania fizzles out; students share beef at police station

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Will not allow beef festival in Osmania University, says Hyderabad police

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Intolerance debate engulfs diaspora: 3 NRIs discuss the great Indian dilemma over PM Modi, end up being no damn different!

(Prologue: The ‘intolerance’ debate raging in India has reached foreign shores, engulfing in its wake the 32 million strong Indian diaspora as well. With Modi mania unabated in the global enclaves of Indians abroad, and all set to dramatically express itself next week in the UK, three NRIs from Singapore, the US and the UK, debate issues. This piece is inspired by their sparring on a Facebook group chat. It is as riveting as the debate back home, filled with hot air and abuse.)

Singapore Indian: Muslims being killed for consuming beef. Secular Indians being harassed for being accepting of others. Sportsmen being banned from plying their skills. Celebrities being taunted for speaking out against intolerance. India is under attack and no, it’s not at its borders but from within. It is not a foreign power but the one legally elected. The price for economic progress (which itself is questionable) cannot be social unrest. It is time every secular Indian expressed their outrage to remind these zealots and the government that we are the majority. Narendra Modi can hug Mark Zuckerberg all he likes but as long as we applaud these publicity stunts, we don’t send him a message to fix this or be fired. I encourage everyone in Singapore to boycott the Modi rally so that our Prime Minister is reminded that he represents all of India not the 31% who voted for him, including those of us who live abroad.”

PM Narendra Modi. AFP

PM Narendra Modi. AFP

UK Indian: Rich, coming from someone who is never going home. Easy to pass all these judgements. You think Modi brought up all these problems when he was elected and they were not there before him. Animal mobs, them and us, the divides of caste and religion, they are not new. Some idiot murders somebody, you cannot point to Modi and blame him, that is absurd. Hey, mister, you have chosen to live in a country where freedom has been sacrificed for technical progress and you proclaim it to be the ultimate destination, we know the atrocities and the diktats committed to achieve that but why do you praise that and scorn Modi (who has no direct or indirect association with any of the current madness)? And be honest, accept the fact that never has Indian freedom of expression been so free. Never has media babbled on without restriction. Explain that.

US Indian: What, getting inked for standing for a principle, is that your idea of freedom of speech? The way national awards are being returned in protest, freedoms are in peril. People are afraid to speak their minds. The enemy is at the gate, it was never this bad, what freedoms do you refer to….?

UK Indian: Don’t sit 10,000 miles away and have your opinions forged by the US media. Come to India. Nothing is that bad. Modi is doing a good job. Some of his peeps mess up and Modi-baiting is a sport thanks to the media which blows everything out of proportion. You think anyone cares if Indians in Singapore boycott him? What is achieved by that? Why are we afraid of someone being internationally acclaimed? Face it, Modi makes us all proud when he is on foreign shores and it is envy that makes people attack him. If 90,000 people plan to fill Wembley, it is a testament to his popularity.

US Indian: Actually, I am all for Singapore Indians demanding a boycott. Even Cambridge University has done it. I don’t think what we are seeing is really freedom of expression. It is more that so much rot is boiling over it is spilling out of the pot, murders, rapes, Hindu fringe groups, never has there been so much at the same time, even a tame media cannot duck it. This is the world’s perception.

Singapore Indian: I agree. Don’t call it freedom. If anything, law and order is up for grabs and looneys are around beating up people, can you imagine a Minister kicking a child beggar in the face and getting away with it anywhere else in the world? Just because there was crap for last 60 years doesn’t give the right to the new government to give anyone more crap. Why is everyone telling everyone else to either echo their sentiments or shut up? It’s sad and shameful that instead of condemning incidents of violence and bigotry, we say, ‘oh well, a previous government did much worse or who cares as long as there is economic progress.’

UK Indian: You people are bigoted. Modi has taken India places despite people pulling him down and done it in such a short time. If we backed him rather than pulled at the cotton all the time, our country would progress even faster. Indians have failed to grasp the fact that Modi has been made into a generic label from all our ills and we could be victims of a clever and diabolical plot to con us. It is amazing how you can be brainwashed by a controlled media offensive. Modi is doing a great job on building brand India and bringing the world to India. But he is doing a poor job in reinforcing the fundamental nature of what India is which is its unity in diversity. What is wrong, if anything, is this defensive attitude that seems to be like a shield around our prime minister. India is not perfect and will never be, the only way to reconcile these religious idiosyncrasies is by economic progress which is being stalled by the dynastic family that ruled us for so many years and is creating this entire media furore to stall the winter session of parliament. None of them ever got the spontaneous reception Modi gets. If that was the global perception as you say, why would 90,000 people, not all Indians, be attracted to Wembley?

US Indian: Oh please, spare us. Nothing is that simple. To respond to your statement, the question to ask is what is being done to fix the problems. As for the dynasty, they have only 44 seats, they don’t even count. You are missing the point. The global stage is rickety and investors are deeply concerned about India’s prejudices coming to the fore. Did you read the Moody’s report? Look what colours our image today. Child rapes, gangland dons, corrupt cops, moral police, insecurity for women, an absence of tolerance, mob violence, beef-eater threats and it is a daily diet. What is really sanctifying all this negativism is the number of ‘thinking’ people who are giving back their symbols of recognition, that is not something you can laugh away. We are a sinking ship and Modi is the captain, he has to take responsibility. He cannot keep running to foreign countries and addressing guilt-ridden NRIs in an orchestrated concert of the vanities.

UK Indian: Houston, the eagle has landed. When did you last go to India? You are probably called Jim from Jamshed or Jo from Joginder and you pretend to be that peacock and are an expert on things American and the fact is you ran away. India is not a hot dog with relish and what the hell do you mean orchestrated concert? Look at your own bigotry.

US Indian: And you didn’t, sitting there in bloody Hounslow or Slough in your little row house making curry, why don’t you go back to Kanpur or Kailashnagar and then let’s see how much flag waving you do? Meeting Modi is a PR exercise.

UK Indian: Damn pseudo-yank, don’t be rude and conceal your ignorance before you get laughed off.

US Indian: You are just another beef-eating hypocrite, you don’t see the writing on the wall, face it, India has never had it so bad.

UK Indian: It’s people like you who have no stake in India who make these judgments and become apologists…

US Indian: Yes, of course, you are a blue-blooded Indian to the core living in Stratham and taking the tube and I bet you’ve bought a tricolour and are all ready to welcome Modi next week…

UK Indian: You make me sick with your ignorance…and yes, I have and I am proud of it.

US Indian: Oh get lost, you stupid git.

Singapore Indian: Two NRIs echoing 1.2 billion…same difference.

— Bikram is himself an NRI (Dubai)

VHP writes to L-G Jung seeking check of beef sale in Delhi hotels, restaurants

New Delhi: Fuelling the beef debate further after the Kerala House controversy, Vishwa Hindu Parishad has written to Delhi Lt Governor demanding that alleged beef sale in hotel and restaurants in the national capital be checked immediately.

The letter jointly signed by Kshetriya Gau Raksha Pramukh Rashtra Prakash and VHP Delhi state joint Secretary Ram Pal Singh Yadav appealed to LG Najeeb Jung to stop sale of beef in Delhi forthwith.

VHP spokesperson Vinod Bansal claimed information on beef sale in the national capital was pouring in since last many days and the Kerala House incident and sting telecast on some media channels has exposed such incidents that openly challenge law of the land and religious sentiments of Hindus.

Representational image. Getty Images

Representational image. Getty Images

“VHP appealed to LG to issue immediate necessary directions to the concerned licensing and other law enforcing authorities to ensure implementation of law of the land, nab the culprits and stop hurting religious sentiments of Hindus,” it said.

A copy of the letter has also been sent to Union Home Ministry, Commissioner of Police, Mayors and Commissioners of Municipal Corporations of Delhi and hotels, restaurants and food joints of Delhi for implementation of the law.

“We have categorically stated that ‘in case the sale or serving of beef do not stopped forthwith, we will have to launch an agitation to protect the law’,” Bansal said.

Highlighting provisions of the Delhi Agricultural Cattle Preservation Act, 1994, the letter said, “despite complete prohibition on sale, purchase, possession and consumption of beef in Delhi, various hotels, restaurants and food joints are selling beef”.

“A little reference to any dictionary available clearly exposes the dubious arguments of those who are trying to mislead the masses that buffalo meat is also covered under the definition of beef,” the letter said.

It comes close on the heels of the controversy over police entering the Kerala House in New Delhi following a complaint that beef was being served in its canteen.

PTI

Editor of Haryana govt magazine removed after it highlighted health benefits of beef

Chandigarh: The Editor of a Haryana government magazine, which carries an article mentioning positive effects of beef-eating, has been removed.

The magazine Shiksha Bharati has included “beef” besides “veal” (meat of young cows) among four “enhancers” which “directly affect absorption of iron in human body.”

The article details the importance of iron as “one of the important micro-nutrient which is required for human body on a daily basis and elaborates on the ill-effects of iron deficiency, its impact on health and various sources of iron.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

Education Minister Ram Bilas Sharma told reporters that the article “Iron-Vital for strength” was carried in the bi-lingual magazine which contains articles in Hindi and English and is published and printed by “President, Shiksha Lok Society-cum-Director, Secondary Education” from the office of Director, Secondary Education, Haryana, Panchkula.

He said that the Editor of the magazine clarified that the article was carried as it was based on a scientific report. Beef was mentioned along with lamb, veal and pork as enhancers with other animal food in the article.

“We said that it should not have been published in the Haryana magazine. We have removed the Editor of the magazine,” Sharma said adding further action in the matter will follow later.

The online edition of the 52-page magazine has been removed from the official website of the Primary Education Department.

However, the online edition of the magazine is still available on the official website of the Secondary Education Department.

Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, who had sparked a controversy saying that Muslims should give up eating beef if they want to live in India, is the chief patron of the body publishing the magazine with Education Minister Ram Bilas Sharma as the patron.

The magazine in its initial pages carries a disclaimer saying the views mentioned are of the contributors and it was not necessary that the department agrees with the views.

Jawahar Yadav, Officer on Special Duty (OSD) to the Chief Minister, declined to comment on the issue.

The Haryana Assembly had recently passed the Gau Sanrakshan Avm Gau Samwardhan Bill 2015′ Bill which favours complete ban on cow slaughter in the state and rigorous imprisonment ranging from three years to ten years for killing the animal.

PTI

Kerala House Beef Row: Twitter goes bonkers after the Delhi Police raid

“THIEF THIEF”. Yawn! Sorry. File a report and we will see. “BEEF BEEF”. 20 cops rush to Kerala House. — Ramesh Srivats

File Photo

Who would have thought that 18 months after Narendra Modi’s BJP won the people’s mandate to rule the nation, the main conversation would be around beef. From a murder in Dadri after a man was alleged to have slaughtered a cow to a journalist being harassed for covering a beef party, the cow has become an albatross around the NDA government’s neck.While Narendra Modi is quite right to say that he is not responsible for the law and order situation in UP, there’s no denying that it’s his ideological brethren who are bringing up the beef issue time and again. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>So much so that BJP’s very own Arun Shourie (one of the old boys of BJP, none too pleased with the rise of Narendra Modi), called the government weak and called it “Congress + a Cow”. He actually said: “Doctor Singh (Manmohan Singh) ko log yaad karne lag gaye hain (People have started recalling the days of Manmohan Singh). The way to characterise policies of the government is — Congress plus a cow. Policies are the same.”A day after he said that, the Delhi police visited Kerala House in Delhi asking them if they had beef on their menu. They did have the word beef but they claim it was cow’s meat. But this didn’t deter members of the Hindu Sena who barged into the house complex and even threatened violence if the ‘sale of cow meat’ wasn’t stopped.Here’s how the Twitterati reacted to the latest beef incident: Will the Delhi police raid these industries too? This might just work. This is kind of depressing. The Congressmen are suddenly having a field day. Here’s what CM Kejriwal had to say: And here’s what Mamata Banerjee had to say:Seriously, Modiji, you need to fix this, like you did the handshake. It’s to, paraphrase Joey Tribbiani, no longer MOO.

Now, a beef with Kerala House: Delhi cops land up at state house after complaint over curry

A PCR call complaining about beef curry being served at Kerala House near Jantar Mantar in Delhi threw the police into a tizzy on Monday, and a team had to be sent there to avert any “untoward incident”.

The call was received by the police control room around 4.15 PM, and the caller, claiming to be from a fringe right-wing group, told the police that beef was being served at Kerala House, said a senior official.

Delhi police. Representational image. Image courtesy: ReutersDelhi police. Representational image. Image courtesy: Reuters

Delhi police. Representational image. Image courtesy: Reuters

The policemen took no chance and the input was immediately passed on to Parliament Street police station, from where a team was sent to Kerala House to deal with any potential violence, said the official.

Reacting to the police action, Kerala chief minister Oomen Chandy was quoted by CNN-IBN as saying that they should not have entered Kerala House and should have shown restraint.

CPI (M) MP MB Rajesh said that the incident was ‘shocking and shameful’ and the police entering the kitchen of the premises was ‘not acceptable, CNN-IBN reported.

The team remained deployed there for several hours and had conversations with the officials posted there. They also informed them about the PCR call and later returned, assuring them that “things were under control”.

“We dealt with the matter with necessary alertness and took our position. The objective was to ensure that law and order is not disrupted,” said DCP (New Delhi) Jatin Narwal.

A senior police official said that the police were not concerned about whether the said meat is served at the aforementioned place, as that doesn’t constitute any criminal offence here.

The role of police was to avert possible hooliganism and ensure that law and order is maintained.

With inputs from PTI

Ten injured in clash between villagers, SSB jawans in Bihar over alleged beef supply

Sitamarhi: At least 10 persons, including four SSB jawans, were injured in a clash between the paramilitary force personnel and villagers over thrashing of two locals in Kanwa allegedly for carrying beef to Nepal.

Representational image. AP

Representational image. AP

Additional District Magistrate (ADM) DN Mandal told PTI on Wednesday that the clash broke out on Monday evening when SSB jawans beat up two persons of Kanwa village in Sitamarhi district on Indo-Nepal border for allegedly carrying beef illegally to Nepal.

As news of the thrashing spread, villagers came out in large numbers and clashed with SSB jawans, and both sides also pelted stones at each other, the ADM said.

Four SSB jawans and at least six villagers were injured in the fight, he said.

Peace was restored after intervention of senior district civil and police officials, the ADM said.

Separate FIRs have been registered by SSB and villagers against each other with Bela police station of the district, the ADM said.

One of the injured SSB jawan, Sushil Kumar, alleged that the two persons were illegally carrying beef to Nepal but villagers negated the claim and said the two were carrying some other food items.

SSB has been entrusted the task to guard the border with the Himalayan country.

PTI

The Dadri debate: Here’s why most arguments about beef are flawed

The recent violence in Dadri, a village in an already lawless Uttar Pradesh, has seen an incredible outpouring of self-righteous indignation in India’s editorial columns. Typical of India – and elsewhere, in all likelihood – facts followed outrage and the picture as it stands now is a lot murkier. Nonetheless, violence was done, blood was shed, and food – specifically beef – was an ingredient in the story. The disproportionate response to a relatively minor issue – even the residents of Dadri have grown tired of the media circus – is telling of the complete disconnect between English language columnists and reality.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

If one were to go by the editorials, the temporary ban on beef during an important Hindu festival is an infringement of civil liberties and the violence in Dadri is the direct consequence of a rising tide of Hindutva politics led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi – never mind the centuries of cultural sensitivities or local traditions.

This argumentation reveals a fundamental flaw in the Liberal enterprise – the assumption that society, each generation, begins tabula rasa, with no history, background, or tradition. Upon this blank slate, intellectuals and activists can fashion their dystopias. Yet reality cannot be further from this scenario: each community does have its own customs and ties that bind, society does find value in things extra-rational. If history is any indication, legislation that goes against the values of the majority will undoubtedly fail; worse, it may even create resentment against the group whom the legislation is supposed to benefit.

It takes brazen blindness to believe that food is not political, particularly beef and pork. In Spain, after the Reconquista, pork emerged as the primary marker of Christianity even ahead of partaking of the Eucharist at Mass. As Christian armies swept south and forcibly converted thousands in their path, they soon began to fear that the new converts might be reverting to their old faith in private. As a result, conversion ceremonies did not simply involve a profession of faith but were done over the consumption of the meat the convert’s former coreligionists found offensive to their sensibilities.

Avoidance of pork was serious enough an offence to send people before the Inquisition as plenty of records attest even to the torture and imprisonment of the accused. In El primer rey de Castilla, a play during the Siglo de Oro by the famous author Lopa de Vega, a character explains that he hung a side of bacon on his wall “so that the King will know that I am neither a Moor nor a Jew.” The same custom of conversion over pork was carried to India by the Portuguese.

Similarly, in India, the consumption of beef has been a sensitive issue in recent years not for dietary reasons but for religious and political ones. As has been pointed out by umpteen people, there is clear evidence of the consumption of meat – including beef and pork – and alcohol, perhaps even ephedra and marijuana, in ancient Hindu texts. What all those people have missed is that the Hindu way, unlike other religions, is not doctrinaire – Hindus are not averse to changing their ways depending on circumstances. Otherwise, it would be difficult to fathom several habits of the modern Hindu. Hindu culture has constantly evolved over the years and somewhere along the way, for whatever reason, it became taboo to consume certain items.

Despite the spiritual taboo, many Hindus today, including brahmins, do consume beef. The problem arises, however, when a great show is made of doing so; the only purpose of organising beef festivals is to provoke Hindus. Unfortunately, the response to provocations can be quite unpredictable and tragic. Legal recourse can certainly punish those who forgot themselves in a moment of anger but the damage would have been done and in cases like Dadri, are irreversible. Given India’s massive beef exports and thriving leather industry, most Hindus have clearly made peace with the entire industry. What causes a few to react violently under specific circumstances is worth investigating.

India’s liberals bemoan the ban of beef as a violation of their liberty, but their opportunistic whine deserves little attention. As Bangladeshi authress Taslima Nasrin recently noted, liberalism in India is highly selective and is essentially an anti-Hindu posture. The furore over the temporary curtailment of the availability of beef during a major Hindu holiday is ample demonstration that there is no basic decency left in India. Just as it would be rude to eat in public during the day in a Muslim country during Ramadan, or for that matter, insisting on consuming alcohol during dinner with a teetotaler friend who is uncomfortable with the consumption of liquor, it would simply be the civilised thing to do to abstain from beef publically at least during certain days of the year. Of course, the use of state machinery to enforce manners is as worrying as the need to remind people of their manners.

To repeat a point that has often been made, restrictions exist all over the world for certain kinds of food. If we debate why beef should be banned, should we also consider why horse meat is banned in some places? Dog meat? Cats? Does liberalism necessarily have to have only a provocative face and not a pragmatic one? For all the talk of secularism, it is interesting to note how many countries restrict the sale of alcohol on Sunday, the Christian holy day.

One of the smartest things Mohandas Gandhi did when he returned to India was to take a trip around India. He saw and understood the pulse of real India, not of the salons of London-educated lawyers of the Congress party who had still not been able to successfully win the hearts and minds of Indians. Gandhi did not support President Rajendra Prasad’s drive to ban beef but it is equally unlikely that he would have hosted or promoted a beef festival. It would behoove many social commentators today to follow in Gandhi’s footsteps – it is all well and good to sit and discuss beef-eating in the abstract in Colaba or Hauz Khas, feeling urbane and sophisticated, but the same issue has a very different and very potent valence in Mandoli or Udupi.

If the alleged opinion shapers of the country are so disconnected – disregarding? – from the majority of the country, it must be asked what role they play in the public sphere. Perhaps we will read about how there should be no crime, hunger, or disease next. And yes, the irony of criticising op-eds in an op-ed has not escaped unnoticed!

BJP’s problem is its mentor: It can’t grow if RSS refuses to grow up

The unending beef controversies, especially the tendency of Sangh Parivar loudmouths to talk nonsense and embarrass the Narendra Modi government, show where the real problem lies: an unreformed and illiberal Sangh is a threat not only to the BJP government at the centre but its own longevity.

It does not matter what you think about cow slaughter or the consumption of beef – in a world where veganism is becoming chic, it is possible to logically argue the anti-beef case – but it does matter if you feel the need to impose your views on the rest of the world, even by violent action when words do not suffice. If, as one Panchajanya article reportedly argued, the Vedas prescribed death for cow slaughter, this fact cannot be used to condone or mitigate any call for murder today.

RSS cadres in Jharkhand on Sunday. PTI imageRSS cadres in Jharkhand on Sunday. PTI image

RSS cadres in Jharkhand on Sunday. PTI image

The Sangh may have a chip on its shoulder – sometimes with good reason – about rootless secularists and their anti-Hindu biases, but it will lose the argument if it does not liberate itself from the clutches of a reactionary and un-modern agenda. You can be justifiably proud of your Hindu heritage and still be modern enough to make your case rationally and sensibly. You can revere the Vedas without necessarily using every word in it as divinely ordained. To use the thoughts of the Vedas or the Gita unthinkingly is akin to doing these holy books a disservice.

The question the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the BJP’s ideological mentor, must ask itself is not how proud Indians must be of their heritage, but whether they – and modern day defenders of Hinduism – are worthy successors of that heritage. The creators of the Vedas and Upanishads were the noblest thinkers of their time; there can be doubts over whether today’s defenders of Vedas have an ounce of their high-thinking abilities.

The problem for the BJP is that it both needs the RSS and is constrained by the connection. Apart from foot soldiers to help it with elections, the RSS is the reason for the BJP’s existence, and so disowning it will do it no good. The BJP’s brand salience comes from the perception that it is a Hindu party – or at least not an anti-Hindu platform. So asking it to ditch the RSS – as some intellectuals are wont to do – is not only a tall order, but pointless. You don’t disown your roots.

However, this also creates a problem for the Modi government. What seemed like stray voices of the fringe now sounds like the mainstream in Sangh politics. One could dismiss assorted illiberal voices from the VHP or the Bajrang Dal as unrepresentative of the BJP’s own attitudes, but can it be easy for the Modi government to disown a Sakshi Maharaj, a Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, a Yogi Adityanath or – for that matter – a Haryana Chief Minister who manages to say something controversial about beef or women every other day? These are not fringe. These are the core of the BJP and the Sangh Parivar they come from. It will do no good for the party chief of even Modi himself to give the recalcitrants an occasional tongue-lashing for over-the-top comments that damage the party.They can only be reined in if the ideological fountainhead changes its way of thinking.

The organisation that really needs to embrace change is the RSS itself. It can, in fact, learn from its own history.

The Sangh was started by KB Hedgewar in 1925, possibly in response to real or imagined threats from the creation of a Muslim League that was formed 19 years before that. But the old Sangh was young in ideas and ideals – it saw man-making and building character as its prime purpose.

Even if you disagree with the purpose for which the RSS was set up, the fact remains that it had youthful energy in its early years under both Hedgewar and Guru Golwalkar, its second chief. It is not clear what the RSS thinks its purpose is today. Daily exercises and practicing self-defence with lathis may have made sense 90 years ago, but does that make sense today?

A key reason for the organisation’s relative decay – despite numerical growth – is its leadership’s age structure.

Consider these facts: Hedgewar started the Sangh at a still youthful 36 years of age. His successor, Golwalkar was 34 when he took over. But after that the age profile of RSS Sarsanghchalaks has been rising steadily towards gerontocracy.

Mohan Bhagwat, the current head of the RSS. PTI imageMohan Bhagwat, the current head of the RSS. PTI image

Mohan Bhagwat, the current head of the RSS. PTI image

Balasaheb Deoras became boss after Golwalkar when he was 58; his successor Rajju Bhaiya was 72 when he took over in 1994. KS Sudarshan was 69 when he got the job in 2000; Mohan Bhagwat, the current chief who took over in 2009, is 65 today.

As opposed to this, consider India’s age demographics: 46 percent of Indians are below 24 years of age; over 90 percent of Indians are below Bhagwat’s age.

There is no doubt in my mind that an RSS chief in his 40s would be vastly more in tune with today’s youth than someone in his mid-sixties.

This is not to confuse chronological age with old attitudes – you can be 65 and still young in thought, and Modi is one clear example of chronological age not representing shopworn ideas – but when an entire leadership is of that kind of age, it is unlikely to be in tune with where the country is heading.

Today’s young, especially the generation born after economic liberalisation in 1991, has different ideas about India. They do not lack reverence for the past, but they don’t want to be mired in it. They want to look ahead, with optimism and aspiration. Beef is not on top of their minds, even though they may be loath to consume it.

Also, the Sangh is almost entirely a patriarchy, often spouting misogynist talk. If the RSS wants to grow, its leadership must have women in the organisation and at the top, not just ageing men. Sealing women hermetically in a Durga Vahini is not good enough for today’s age.

The RSS leadership, apart from its surfeit of gerontocrats, clearly needs a reality check on young India. In an earlier article, this writer had provided a checklist for the RSS to see if it has a future (I reproduce them here in a modified form).

One, if its goal is serving Hindu society, should its agenda not include a very strong and explicit social component – like eliminating caste injustices or seeking broader inclusiveness and improved well-being of the people? This has to be top of the agenda, not somewhere at the bottom.

Two, even if its goal in only to serve Hindu society, how can this be done if it has an antagonistic attitude to Muslims? Is Hindu society served by making it fight Muslims, or by opening a dialogue with them?

Three, more important, the RSS must seek answers to the question of who or what is a Hindu. The term has two connotations – one is the religious one, where anyone who adopts Hindu forms of worship in a Hindu; the other is cultural, where anyone imbued with aspects of Indian culture is a Hindu. But, equally, it makes no sense insisting that Muslims – whether converted ages ago from Hinduism or born as Muslims who settled in India – must term themselves cultural Hindus. Everyone has the right to self-definition, and the RSS should not insist on meaningless shows of Hindu-ness – even culturally.

Four, the RSS has to sort out what from history is relevant to modernity and what is not. It has to decide what is truly valuable to its Hindu heritage, and what is not. And what is valuable can always be adapted to modernity. While it is in this area, it is worth asking itself: is building a temple in Ayodhya more important than merely getting Muslim society to accept the reality that Islamic rulers in the past did damage to many Hindu temples and icons? The former is an attempt to humiliate Muslims in India today; the latter is about truth and reconciliation. Even if Babar had demolished a temple to build the Babri, you can’t correct a historical wrong by demolishing a mosque today. Today’s Muslims were not responsible for Babar’s or Mir Baqi’s wrongs.

Five, the RSS has to accept the reality that there will be competition in the religious space. So if other religions are going to poach for marketshare in India, it has to gear up for the same by building long-term institutions like the Catholic Church. Banning conversions or seeking restrictions on missionaries is an acceptance of defeat. If the RSS truly believes in the values embedded in Hinduism, it has to accept the challenge and prepare for the long-term.

Six

, the RSS needs to start valuing intellectualism. The long-term future of any ideology depends on the intellectual input that a group can generate and sustain. The Left, despite being authoritarian and anti-intellectual in politics (Mao, Stalin, and our own Prakash Karat), has managed to dominate the intellectual space and academia in India and abroad for nearly two centuries. On the other hand, the RSS is suspicious of free-thinking intellectuals in the Hindu space. In fact, over the last half-century, I have seen only two persons – Arun Shourie and Rajiv Malhotra – emerge as true intellectuals in the Hindu space. (Though I must acknowledge there must be hundreds of unsung heroes here.) And the RSS has been unable to use them or grow new ones. The RSS cannot have a future without creating a solid intellectual base for growth.

Seven, the logic of any living organisation is growth. Without growth there can be no future. But growth needs constant scanning of the horizon for changed circumstances. Right now, the RSS is too mired in the past for its own or the country’s good. Most intelligent former swayamsevaks have left it behind and shifted to the social sphere – like KN Govindacharya, who now roots for the Aam Aadmi Party, or Sanjeev Kelkar, author of Lost years of the RSS, who left the RSS and now runs rural healthcare projects and empathises with Dalit causes. To have a future, the RSS needs a growth path without negativities and anti-minorityism.

To which I must add something I omitted the last time. If the RSS is not seen as women-friendly, it will lose out. Women are the key to its growth and sustenance as a viable organisation. An organisation where women have an equal role will be vastly more sensitive to commonsense and humanism than one manned entirely by men.

Maharashtra: Beef, cattle skin worth Rs 16 lakh seized, 7 held

A truck bearing Tamil Nadu registration plates (TN52 F1507) and carrying around 24,000kg of “beef” and “skins of bullocks and buffaloes” was impounded in the wee hours on the Nashik-Pune highway.

Cattle
Representational Image

An alleged haul of beef and cattle skin worth around Rs 16 lakh was seized in Nashik from a truck bound for Tamil Nadu with seven persons having been arrested in this connection, police said.A truck bearing Tamil Nadu registration plates (TN52 F1507) and carrying around 24,000kg of “beef” and “skins of bullocks and buffaloes” was impounded in the wee hours on the Nashik-Pune highway, said Police Inspector Sanjay Sanap of Nashik Police’s Crime Branch Unit-3.The vehicle was intercepted during night patrolling by police. The driver was found plying the truck without the necessary documents, the officer added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We have arrested the driver, one Jairam V Virappan, and six others, four of whom are locals,” he said.A case under Sections 5C and 9A of the state’s Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act and relevant sections of IPC has been registered at Upnagar police station and inquiries are underway in this regard, police said.The Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act, which bans slaughter of bulls and bullocks, was enforced by the BJP- led government on March 4. Under the law, anyone found selling beef or possessing it can be jailed for up to five years and fined Rs 10,000.

Beef ban: Petitions challenging ban to come up in Bombay HC tomorrow

The Bombay High Court has posted for final hearing on Tuesday a bunch of petitions challenging the beef ban legislation in Maharashtra.

Bombay High Court

dna
The Bombay High Court has posted for final hearing on Tuesday a bunch of petitions challenging the beef ban legislation in Maharashtra.The petitions would be heard by a bench of Justices Abhay Oka and VL Achilya for three days from October 14. In February 2015, the President had granted sanction to Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act. While the Act had banned slaughter of cows way back in 1976, the recent amendments prohibited slaughter of bulls and bullocks.According to the amended Act, the sale of bulls and bullocks in the state is an offence punishable with five-year jail term and Rs 10,000 fine. Besides, possession of meat of a cow, bull or bullock is also an offence for which the punishment prescribed is one-year jail and Rs 2,000 fine.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While hearing the petition, the HC had in April refused to grant an interim stay on the law on the issue of possession of beef. Arif Kapadia, a city resident, and noted lawyer Harish Jagtiani, have challenged the provision of the law which says mere possession of beef in any place in the state is a crime.According to Jagtiani, this provision of the law is arbitrary and hits upon the cosmopolitan nature of the city which houses people from all religions and communities. Kapadia, on the other hand, has described as “draconian” section 5(D) of the Act which makes possession of meat of any cow, bull or bullock slaughtered outside the state a cognizable and non-bailable offence with punishment upto one year in jail and Rs 2,000 fine.Other petitions have been filed by Vishal Sheth, a lawyer, and Shaina Sen, a student. The duo said “we are Hindus who are consumers of beef which is now part of our diet and nutrition sources. The ban on beef and criminalising its sale and possession violates fundamental rights of citizens.” On September 21, the HC had rejected the plea in a bunch of petitions seeking the relaxation of beef ban in Maharashtra during a three-day period for Eid festival, also known as Bakri-Eid.The HC was of the view that it cannot temporarily suspend the beef ban as it was hearing petitions challenging the Act.

Dadri lynching was a ‘pre-planned conspiracy’, says SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav

Lucknow: Breaking his silence over the Dadri lynching incident, SP Chief Mulayam Singh Yadav on Thursday claimed it was a “pre-planned” conspiracy hatched by three persons of a particular party and that they were also behind the 2013 riots in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar district.

Upping the ante over the lynching of 52-year-old Akhlaq over rumours of beef consumption in Dadri in UP’s Greater Noida, the Samajwadi Party(SP) supremo said stern action will be taken in the matter “even if we have to sacrifice the government.”

“The Dadri incident was a pre-planned conspiracy…you will come to know the names. According to the information I have gathered, three persons related to a particular party are behind the incident,” Yadav, a former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, alleged at a news conference here.

File photo. Image courtesy: PTIFile photo. Image courtesy: PTI

File photo. Image courtesy: PTI

Yadav claimed that the three persons were also behind the 2013 communal riots in Muzaffarnagar in which 62 people were killed.

“I talked to my party members and they said these three persons were also behind the riots in Muzaffarnagar. They succeeded in killing people, but failed to break communal harmony,” he added.

Yadav said a party delegation will be sent to Dadri after which it will become clear who these three persons were.

“We will take stern action once the names are clear, whatever sacrifices the government has to make…even if we have to sacrifice our government, we will crush the communal forces,” he added.

He said it was a conspiracy “to oppress the people of a specific community. The SP will not allow this conspiracy to succeed”.

He also claimed that communal forces were hatching conspiracies against the SP government which, he said, was gaining popularity because of its development works.

“I want to urge Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has given the slogan of ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’ and is also an MP from Uttar Pradesh to think over it seriously,” he said.

The (Dadri) conspiracy was hatched to break the confidence of the people in SP, he said, adding, “It was a serious incident. It happened at a time when his son was protecting the country’s border. It has to be taken seriously.”

PTI

Activist Rahul Easwar attacked for not supporting beef festival in Kerala, alleges ‘left wing fascism’

Rahul says he had gone to MSM college in Kayamkulam for an event where he was to speak on cyber security and pre-marital education.

Rahul Easwar

The issue of beef ban has become a hot burning topic across India with unfortunate incident in Dadri even making international headlines and Kerala is no exception to it. On one side there are students and lecturer Deepa Nishanth who are supporting the beef fest in Sree Kerala Varma College, Thrissur, Kerala. And on the other, ABVP and Yuva Morcha are demanding that the college take action against her.Now, activist and author Rahul Easwar has been attacked in a college in Kerala for not supporting beef ban. This on a day when a MLA in Jammu and Kashmir Assembly was attacked by BJP MLAs for hosting a beef party. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Speaking to dna, Rahul says that he had gone to MSM college in Kayamkulam for an event where he was supposed to speak on cyber security and pre-marital education. When he came out of the lecture, Easwar saw that the college gates were being closed and he was stopped by around 25 students. They asked Easwar to support the beef fest and he flatly refused stating that he was neither supporting the beef fest nor the pork fest. He was then heckled, abused, stones were thrown at him and his car was vandalised.Easwar tells dna, “I suspect it was planned attack because when I went into the college to give my lecture there was no issue. I have been voicing my opinion on various TV channels that I don’t support the beef fest or the pork fest and I think this is as a result of that. Can’t I live in Kerala without supporting the beef fest? I believe in Article 48 of the Indian Constitution. On one hand, we have cultural fascism and this is just counter-cultural fascism from the Left wing which I totally oppose. We don’t need beef fests or pork fests but we need a middle ground.”
Easwar goes on to add, “Some people are making this attack on me as a Hindu-Muslim issue. It is absolutely nothing of the sort. The college I went to is a Muslim college and the college principal, Professor Shaik Ahmed, has been extremely helpful and cooperative. He called up and apologised for what happened.” He also stated that he has filed a police complaint and the police have arrested a person in connection with the attack on him.

MLA Engineer Rashid beaten up by BJP MLAs in Jammu and Kashmir Assembly for hosting beef party

The National Congress staged a walk out of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly opposing the actions of the BJP MLAs.

Representational Image

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Jammu and Kashmir Independent MLA Engineer Rashid was beaten up by BJP MLAs in J&K Assembly on Thursday for hosting beef party in the MLA hostel on Wednesday.According to reports, BJP MLA Ravinder Raina thrashed Rashid for acting against the ban.As BJP MLAs assaulted him, several NC and Congress MLAs rushed to save him. Shortly after the incident, the National Congress staged a walk out of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly opposing the actions of the BJP MLAs.The legislator from Langate had on Wednesday hosted the beef party in the lawns of MLA hostel here, with the guests being served beef kebabs, ‘ristas’ (meat balls) and beef patties. Rashid had claimed that he did not want to offend anyone but wanted to send a message that “no courts or legislature can prevent the people from eating what they want”.The step was “just to give them (legislators) a clear message that it hardly makes any difference whether you accept or reject the bill… religious matters cannot be kept subservient to courts and assembly,” the MLA had said.”Nobody on earth, no assembly, no court and no institution can stop us from having what we want to have,” he added.Here’s what happened in the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly:The Supreme Court on Monday had suspended the Jammu & Kashmir High Court order banning the sale of beef in the state, for two months. The apex court kept in abeyance for two months the Jammu bench’s order barring the sale of beef and asking police to enforce the ban. It also directed the high court’s chief justice to set up a three-judge bench to resolve issues arising from the conflicting orders of the two benches.While the Jammu bench of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court had ordered enforcement of the bar on the sale of beef in the state, the Srinagar bench scrapped the law that barred slaughter of bovine animals. Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir Assembly was rocked by opposition’s protest over beef ban.With Agency inputs

College students suspended in Kerala for conducting ‘beef fest’ to protest Dadri lynching

Thrissur, Kerala: Six students of a leading government-aided college in Thrissur have been suspended for allegedly conducting a ‘beef festival’ inside the campus to protest against the lynching of a man in Uttar Pradesh over rumours of eating beef.

According to the management of Sree Kerala Varma College, the action was taken against the students, all activists of Students Federation of India, for serving beef inside the campus violating disciplinary rules of the institution.

Representational image. AFP.

Representational image. AFP.

The activists of SFI, the students’ wing of CPI(M), had allegedly distributed beef and bread to students on 1 October as a symbolic protest against the beef ban initiated in some states and the gruesome killing of 50-year-old Iqlak, who was lynched at Dadri over beef eating rumours.

College Principal, CM Latha, said non-vegetarian dishes are not served within the college even during official functions and she had warned SFI activists not to distribute beef as it was against the custom of the institution.

“We are not against students’ protests. But, in this case, I had warned students not to distribute beef within the campus and advised them to conduct the protest outside the college premises if they are so particular to do so,” she told PTI.

“Our college has a tradition of not serving non-vegetarian dishes even for official functions. So, the management felt that it was not fair to distribute beef within the campus,” she said.

The activists of SFI and ABVP, students’ wing of BJP, had even clashed with each other over the conduct of the ‘festival’ the same day.

ABVP activists, who opposed the fest, were allegedly beaten up SFI members and police registered FIR against 12 ‘unidentified’ students in this regard.

Latha said the action was taken also based on the news photos of the day and the police FIR.

The period of suspension would be decided by the disciplinary council of the college later, she added.

Founded by Maharaja of erstwhile Kochi state, Sree Kerala Varma College is now managed by Cochin Devaswom Board, an autonomous organisation under the state government.

PTI

Gau mata, really? Why cows are symbols of our hypocrisy

Every morning, on a road next to a Metro station near my house, the Indian way of life has a communion with Swacch Bharat.

After collecting garbage from nearby colonies, contracted workers of the municipal council, dump it in the middle of the road. Within minutes, stray cows and dogs start scavenging for food in this putrid pile.

Plight of cows in Jaipur.Plight of cows in Jaipur.

Plight of cows in Jaipur.

The cows search patiently: plastic bags, sanitary napkins, stale vegetables, dry rotis and newspapers laced with food get carefully scanned for anything that is edible. In the end, not satiated by the garbage, the cows turn to the carts of roadside vegetable vendors, who, instead of feeding them, drive the animals away with sticks and chappals.

This, essentially, is the plight of the animal that is leading to murders, violence, bigotry and bans in India. While people fight over whether cattle can be turned into food, the poor Gau Mata struggles daily for nourishment.
Cows are symbols of our hypocrisy. We use them in every possible manner, squeeze every drop of milk out of them, inject them with chemicals and hormones to increase their output and then leave them on the roads, hoping some pious Hindu would throw food at them and reduce our cost of feeding them.

No, Hindus don’t kill cows. They only leave them out on the streets once they become dry, barren to die, either because of hunger or disease (some say, like the vanprastha stage of our lives, this is the inevitable roadprastha stage of bovine life!). If they do not want a calf, they ensure that it gets kicked to death by the mother by yoking it with a large wooden triangle that irritates her udders while feeding. And then there is of course the easier method of tethering an animal until it starves to death and vultures and dogs pounce on it.

But, we are ready to kill human beings on the mere suspicion that one of these unfortunate animals we had left in the street to die had become part of his dinner.

So, gau hamari mata hai, right? Let us compare the plight of our holy mother with cows in other countries. In a study of livestock in West Bengal, a professor at the University of Missouri found that the cattle ate only the inedible remains of crops (apart from what they find in streets). A similar study in the US by scientists at Cornell University found that 91 percent of the cereal, bean, and vegetable protein suitable for human consumption is consumed by livestock.

Many historians have argued that beef was our staple diet; kings slaughtered them regularly during celebrations and public functions, even Brahmins feasted on them. But gradually their killing and consumption was discouraged, primarily because of socio-economic reasons.

Cows gave us milk and other dairy products, they produced oxen that were used in fields and beasts of burden, their dung was used as fuel and manure. For many families, a cow was the centre of their economy. Killing it deprived them of milk, fuel and oxen to farm their land, leading to financial ruin. So, protecting them made lot of socio-economic sense.

“It seems probable that the sense of unutterable profanity elicited by cow slaughter has its roots in the excruciating contradiction between immediate needs and long-run conditions of survival,” argues Columbia University anthropologist Marvin Harris in an essay on the importance of cows in Indian culture.

But, urbanisation and mechanisation changed the man-bovine relation. Now, we find cows useful only till they can be milked. Once they serve their purpose, they are cast away in the urban jungle. I once asked a group of friends if any of them had ever brought home a stray cow, fed it, sought medical attention for it or tried to find a home for the animal. Did you?
Our cold apathy for cows is the reason we have that unique Indian institution: gaushala (shelter for cows), where hundreds of stray cattle are herded together in the hope that donations and government doles will keep them alive. Since we call cow our mother, these shelters seem inspired by old-age homes where our biological mothers await their end after being thrown out of homes.

How do these cows fare in gaushalas? Earlier this year, a report in the Times of India looked at a government-run gaushala in Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, the only state in India to have a cow department. The gaushala records reveal every day 90 cows die of hunger and disease. The cow shelter, according to its in-charge, has around 9000 cattle and a per cent of them die daily.

Instead of killing others for treating cows as part of their food chain, shouldn’t we be asking ourselves why they die like dogs when there are so many pseudo sons to take care of the bovine mother of India?

Dadri lynching: Owaisi slams Mahesh Sharma’s ‘accident’ remark, says victim killed over religion

Dadri/Lucknow: As tension simmered in Bishada where a man was lynched on Monday night over allegedly eating beef, Union Minister Mahesh Sharma on Friday sought punishment for those guilty without “victimising” the innocents, while tough talking AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi said the victim was killed because of his religious persuasion.

Four days after Bishada village on Delhi’s outskirts in Uttar Pradesh was rocked by the brutal killing of Mohammed Iqlakh, it witnessed an unending parade of politicians, who sympathised with the victim’s family and sought to cool frayed tempers as communal tension smouldered.

Sharma, also the local MP, persisted with his refrain that Iqlakh’s bludgeoning to death by the lynch mob was an “accident” which should not be given a communal colour and over which there should be no politics.

The victim's family. PTI

The victim’s family. PTI

“It is a blot on our culture and such incidents do not have a place in a civilised society. If somebody says it was pre-planned, I don’t agree with it. It is an accident and it should be probed by CBI or state and guilty should be punished. Innocents should not be victimised in the name of investigation,” Sharma, Minister of State for Tourism and Culture said at Bishada where he consoled the bereaved family.

Owaisi, who too paid a visit to the distraught family, could not disagree more when he described the killing as “a pre-planned murder”, actuated by the victim’s religious persuasion.

The sharp-tongued Hyderabad MP attacked both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the state’s Samajwadi Party government for the incident that has triggered a nation-wide outrage.

“We had expected that the least the Prime Minister, who talks of ‘sabka saath-sabka vikas’ (inclusivity)’, would tweet to condole Iqlakh’s murder.

“Yesterday, he had tweeted to condole famous singer Asha Bhosale’s son’s death. The ‘sabka saath-sabka vikas PM’ should have at least sent his condolences in a tweet if he believes in pluralism and upholding of law,” he said.

As political rivals locked horns over the incident, Bishada continued its uncomfortable tryst with media spotlight, while remaining under the protective shadow of the gun.

Contingents of Provincial Armed Constabulary and state police were strategically deployed across the village where prohibitory orders banning assembly of five or more people continued to be in force.

District Magistrate MP Singh claimed the situation was under control and reasoned that the incident should be treated as a “solitary case” and not a communal clash as no other Muslim family was affected.

Chiding Sharma for calling Iqlakh’s killing an accident, Owaisi said,”Mahesh Sharma is the Culture Minister of the country and it is unfortunate that the minister who has taken oath on the Constitution doesn’t have the courage and intellectual honesty to condemn the incident unconditionally.”

He rubbished claims that Iqlakh’s family was attacked because it had consumed beef.

“This attack was not because of meat. The SP government, instead of arresting the murderers, is getting a forensic test done on the meat found at the victim’s home. Their mind, which is full of poison, should be examined first. They are treating the victim as accused,” he said.

Miles away in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav trained his gun on Modi over a string of contoversies over cow slaughter and beef consumption.

“They want to rake up such issues. These forces talked about pink revolution. We say today you are in power, so ban beef exports. You should build support for banning its export,” he said in an apparent reference to Modi, who had in the run-up to last Lok Sabha elections attacked the then UPA government over meat exports, saying it was encouraging “pink revolution”.

The Chief Minister said the guilty will not be spared and his government will act with “full honesty”.

“A debate is going on all over the country over the incident and I assure you that those responsible for it will not be spared, however strong they might be,” he said.

Mahesh Sharma faced some anger from the locals who questioned the delay in visiting the victim’s family.

The Minister visited Iqlakh’s 22-year-old son Danish, who was critically wounded during the assault, at the hospital where he continues to battle for life. He has undergone brain surgery and is on ventilator.

“Danish is better now but is not completely out of danger. He is responding to verbal commands. His brother also accompanied me. He recognished him and held his hand too. His situation is much better but is not 100 per cent out of damger,” Sharma said.

The BJP MP also visited the local temple and met Hindus there who accused the police of acting in a biased way. Sharma said police should investigate the case impartially but not falsely implicate innocent people.

Addressing a gathering at the village, the Minister said the majority Hindus have promised to protect the Muslims.

As the political slugfest over Iqlakh’s killing continued, Shivpal Yadav, Samajwadi Party leader and younger brother of its chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, demanded dismissal of Sharma from the Union ministry.

“Mahesh Sharma should be immediately sacked from the Union Cabinet for his statement on Dadri lynching. The PM should also swing into action and give strict directions to prevent such planned incidents,” Shivpal, a senior UP minister, told reporters in Lucknow.

Terming the incident as handiwork of BJP and RSS, Yadav said they had orchestrated such incidents in the past too.

“Communal forces – BJP, RSS and Shiv Sena – are trying to vitiate communal atmosphere of the state. They have orchestrated such incidents in the past and are trying to do it again. We are alert, but they do communal politics and have succeeded in their designs sometimes,” he said.

“The Dadri incident was planned. They (BJP) are anti-Muslim and it is their habit to do such things,” the Samajwadi Party leader said.

Meanwhile, Mamata Banerjee‘s Trinamul Congress has questioned the Prime Minister’s continued silence on the killing, with its MP Sultan Ahmed demanding that he make a statement on communal incidents in the country and do something to stop RSS and fringe outfits from disrupting communal harmony.

“We want to know why Narendra Modi is silent on the recent killing of a person over rumours of consuming beef. This is nothing but spreading communal poison in the society and disrupting the fabric of the country,” Ahmed told PTI.

“Modi keeps on speaking about each and every issue. But he stays mum on various communal incidents. He should speak up in order to stop RSS, VHP from destroying communal peace,” he said.

PTI

‘Who’ll ensure it won’t happen again’: Shocked muslims plan to leave village after lynching

Dadri/New Delhi: Shocked and shaken to the core, Muslims of Bishada village on the outskirts of the national capital, where a man was lynched over rumours of his family having eaten beef, are contemplating moving out as the local administration scrambled to stem simmering tension.

The Centre has, meanwhile, sought a detailed report from the Uttar Pradesh government on the incident and asked it to ensure that no such incidents recur.

The victim's family. PTI

The victim’s family. PTI

Heavy security deployment in the aftermath of the Monday night incident has failed to instill confidence among the 50 odd Muslim families, who unnerved by the killing of 50-year-old Mohammed Iqlakh, want to shift to safer places. Iqlakh was dragged out of his home by a lynch mob of 200 people and beaten to death for allegedly eating beef.

“Our lives are in danger. I’m planning to move from here. We will move from here because this can happen again anytime. Who will ensure us that this won’t happen again?” said a distraught Sartaj, Iqlakh’s son, who serves in the Indian Air Force.

The victim’s another son, 22-year-old Danish, who was mercilessly assaulted, is recuperating in a hospital.

“We will move out to our relatives in Delhi or other states if the situation here deteriorates any further,” said Raisuddin, another resident.

However, District Magistrate NP Singh claimed the situation in the village is “under control” and the administration is making efforts to maintain order by forming peace committees with representation from both the majority and minority communities.

As the situation threatened to spiral out of control following incident, contingents of Provincial Armed Constabulary and reinforcements from adjoining Ghaziabad, Bulandshahr and Hapur had been rushed to the village.

Sartaj said his father was suffering from typhoid and had low blood pressure when the mob bludgeoned him to death. He said he was not aware of any tension in the village preceding the incident.

“As far as I know, there wasn’t any tension. Everything was normal. I spoke to my father an hour before the incident and asked about his well being. He was suffering from typhoid and his BP was below normal. Rest was fine till then. He was dragged outside the house, obviously neighbours were involved,” he said.

“Those arrested murdered my father. I want to know the reason for which they did this to him. They should be punished so that none from the village would dare to do such a deed in future,” Sartaj said, adding his family was contemplating moving out of the village as such incidents could happen any time.

Iqlakh’s wife demanded a CBI inquiry into the incident. Recalling the incident, she said,”There was a lot of noise and they were banging our doors and abusing us. The entered the house by jumping a wall from the other side. Then they started misbehaving and vandalising things after which they mercilessly thrashed us.”

Additional District Magistrate Rajesh Kumar met the victim’s family and other members of the Muslim community and assured protection.

Seven people allegedly involved in the incident have already been arrested, while hunt is on for others.

SP(Rural) Sanjay Singh said a priest at the local temple, who made the announcement on the public address system about the family having consumed beef, and two youths, who allegedly forced him to do that, were “major links” to the incident.

“Further interrogation will reveal the exact sequence of events. The victim’s family has alleged it was pre-planned,” he said.

Iqlakh’s kin have rubbished the charge of consuming beef and said they had eaten mutton. Even the FIR has no mention of beef.

Enraged over the incident, a Muslim resident of the village said,”Even if it was beef, does it give any right to BJP activists to attack the house and kill the man because he has eaten beef.”

“It is fact that Muslim community eats beef. But they never slaughter cows in public view. Beef is available in several other states openly in shops. Slaughtering should not be done in public view to hurt the sentiment of any community. If one is doing inside the house or buying beef from slaughter house and eating it at home it should not be treated as sin. We should have freedom to eat. We are not forcing others to eat beef,” another local said.

The incident has set off a blame game between BJP and the state’s ruling Samajwadi Party.

“This (incident) should be considered an accident without giving any communal colour to it,” Union Minister Mahesh Sharma, the local BJP MP, told reporters in Delhi.

He said, “I feel this incident occurred due to some misunderstanding and the law should truthfully act against whoever is responsible.”

With tension gripping the area, the ruling Samajwadi Party hit out at BJP over Iqlakh’s killing, accusing it of deliberately inciting violence ahead of 2017 assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh as part of efforts to polarise voters.

“BJP has been inciting large scale violence in UP ahead of the assembly polls. Such incidents are occurring repeatedly after the Muzaffarnagar violence,” said State cabinet Minister Azam Khan.

Reacting to SP leader’s charge, BJP MP Yogi Adityanath said the UP government was responsible for “jungle-raj” in the state. “Jungle-raj prevails in UP and the government backs the professional criminals and mafia to hide its failure. There is a complete anarchy in the state.”

The Congress, on its part, accused BJP of making UP a “communal lab” to gain electoral mileage. “UP has been made a communal lab by BJP so that they can enhance their vote bank. The PM can continue to talk about development but it is extremely evident the real path of BJP is communal hatred,” said Congress leader and former Union minister RPN Singh.

Meanwhile, in a communication to the Uttar Pradesh government, the Home Ministry has sought a report on the incident. It asked the state government to apprehend those responsible for it at the earliest and punish them.

PTI

BJP MP calls Dadri killing over beef ‘accident’, while victim’s family plans to leave village

New Delhi: Union Minister Mahesh Sharma on Thursday described the killing of a 50-year-old man in Dadri by a mob, allegedly over consumption of beef, as an “accident” and said that no “communal colour” should be given to it, even as the family of the victim is planning to move out of the village fearing that it may happen again.

“This (incident) should be considered as an accident without giving any communal colour to it,” Sharma, Minister of State for Tourism and BJP MP from Noida, said.

The victim's family. PTIThe victim's family. PTI

The victim’s family. PTI

“Two other families live with the affected family in the middle of the village and their walls adjoin with others. About 10-12 houses of other community are in the outlying part of the village but no incident concerning them has happened,” he said.

“I feel this incident occurred due to some misunderstanding and the law should truthfully act against whoever is responsible for it,” he said.

Iqlakh was beaten to death and his 22-year-old son Danish son was critically injured by a mob which barged into their house following rumours that the family had consumed beef, on Monday night.

Iqlakh’s other son, Sartaj, who serves in the Indian Army, demanded punishment for the murderers of his father.

“Those arrested murdered my father. I want to know the reason for which they did this to him. They should be punished so that none from the village would dare to such deed in future,” he said. Expressing apprehension over danger to the life of his remaining family members, Sartaj said that he is planning to move out of the village as the incident could repeat again.

“Our lives are in danger. I’m planning to move from here. We will move from here because this can happen again anytime. Who will ensure us that this won’t happen again?” he asked.

Sartaj denied any knowledge about any tension, saying that he had talked to his “ailing” father about half an hour before the incident and everything was “fine”.

“As far as I know, there wasn’t any tension. Everything was normal. I spoke to my father an hour before the incident and asked about his well being, he was suffering from typhoid and his BP was below normal. Rest everything was fine till then. 25 minutes after the incident I came to know my father was beaten to death. He was dragged outside the house, obviously neighbours were involved,” he said.

The incident drew sharp condemnation from political parties. A magisterial inquiry has been ordered and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 10 lakh for the family of the victim.

PTI

Additional Advocate General shunted out by Mufti government over handling of beef ban case

Law department Secretary Mohammad Ashraf Mir said Sharma has been transferred from Home Department to Education Department and it was a “normal” procedure. “Yes, he (Sharma) has been transferred. But it is a normal administrative procedure,” Mir told PTI.

The controversy over beef ban in Jammu and Kashmir has intensified with Mufti government shunting out Additional Advocate General Vishal Sharma apparently for “failing to defend” its stand before the High Court which had directed strict enforcement of a 1932 law against beef sale.Law department Secretary Mohammad Ashraf Mir said Sharma has been transferred from Home Department to Education Department and it was a “normal” procedure. “Yes, he (Sharma) has been transferred. But it is a normal administrative procedure,” Mir told PTI.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sources said the “Law Ministry yesterday ordered Sharma’s removal from Home Department and asked him to now to deal with cases of School Education and Rural Development departments in the High Court.”They said the Law Ministry has taken strong note of Sharma’s “total failure” in defending government’s position in the High Court during the hearing on a petition seeking enforcement of a ban on sale and consumption of beef in the state. However, Mir said Sharma’s transfer had “nothing to do” with the beef ban case.When contacted, Vishal Sharma said that he is yet to receive any communication from the government. Hearing the petition, Jammu and Kashmir High Court last week directed the police to ensure that there is no sale of beef anywhere in the state and that strict action is taken against those who violate the law in this regard. The sources claimed Sharma “had not informed the State Home Department as well as Divisional Commissioner Kashmir on filing of reply in the case”.The judgement evoked widespread criticism in the state, with religious and separatist groups terming it as a “direct interference in religious affairs of Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir”. The opposition National Conference has also asked the PDP-BJP government to bring necessary amendments in law to allow sale of beef and cow slaughter in the the state ahead of Eid later this month.Under section 298 A of Ranbir Penal Code 1932, killing or slaughtering of a cow or similar animal is a non-bailable offence which carries punishment of up to 10 years in imprisonment and fine. Under section 298B, possessing of meat of such an animal is a non-bailable offence punishable with imprisonment of one year and fine.

A non-vegetarian’s guide to bans in India: Here are the regions that have enforced a meat ban

Meat-lovers in India are facing bad days, with news of bans emanating from different parts of the country faster than you can say kheema gotaala.

Representational image. Image courtesy: AFPRepresentational image. Image courtesy: AFP

Representational image. Image courtesy: AFP

It all started with the municipality of Mira-Bhayander near Mumbai, where the municipal corporation passing a resolution — during the Jain fasting period of Paryushan — banning the sale of meat for eight days. Mumbai soon followed suit, banning the sale of meat for four days. Maharashtra, not long ago, had been in the news for enforcing a ban on beef.

Soon enough, the ban fever caught on in Gujarat and Rajasthan, covering the major part of western India. Meanwhile, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court banned beef in the state after a petitioner argued that the slaughter of cows hurt the sentiments. In Punjab, the meat ban was put in place by the police in Ludhiana.

Here are the regions in India where the meat ban has enforced, either across the state or in one or more cities:

A map of India showing where the meat ban is completly or partially in placeA map of India showing where the meat ban is completly or partially in place

A map of India showing where the meat ban is completely or partially in place

J&K high court bans beef, but meat still available in state

Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday joined a long list of states that have outlawed the sale of beef.

The ban was imposed by the Jammu and Kashmir High court in response to a Public Interest Litigation against cow slaughter, reported UNI.

Representational image. AFP imageRepresentational image. AFP image

Representational image. AFP image

The petition had sought a ban on the slaughter and sale of beef in the state, reported CNN-IBN.

The court reportedly observed that the Divisional Commissioner of Kashmir hadn’t filed an appropriate response regarding the smuggling and slaughtering of bovine animals and the sale of the meat.

A Catch News report said that the PIL had said that the practice of slaughter of bovine animals was in violation of law but was allowed to continue unabated. It also reportedly alleged the connivance of authorities in this activity.

The bench also directed the Director General of Police to ensure directions were issued to all police officials to ensure there was no sale of beef across the state.

CNN-IBN‘s Mufti Islah said that though the order had been passed by the Jammu division bench the shops in the Kashmir valley that are selling beef are still operational for now. He also pointed out that the imposition of the ban was a problem for the PDP-BJP government since the PDP had never been against the sale of beef in the state.

Can’t sell beef, sell vegetables: Naqvi defends ‘go to Pak’ remark

New Delhi: A day after advising those “dying” to eat beef to leave for Pakistan, Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Friday sought to defend his stand saying faith of millions should not be hurt over choice of eating.

“This is not a matter of controversy. If one talks about cows, definitely crores of people revere it, they worship it and call it ‘Gomata’. I am a Muslim and in my locality if somebody says that I will sell pork, I will not say anything but all the Muslims in that locality will throw him out.

Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi. PTI

Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi. PTI

“In Islam, pork is prohibited. That is why it should not be sold or even seen. How can one think that when such a large section has faith for cow and worships it, you expect to cut it in front of them and a legal suit is given to it…one has to think about this issue,” Naqvi said.

He was speaking at #Modi365, a conclave organised by news channel CNN-IBN to mark a year of BJP government in office.

Naqvi had sparked a row yesterday by saying, “If a certain section (of people) is dying because they can’t sell or eat beef then this is not the country for them. Let them
go to Pakistan or an Arab nation, or any other part of world where it is available.”

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, however, on Friday disapproved of his remark saying people should be aware of their responsibilities. Jaitley also insisted that such
comments would have no impact on the government or its policies.

Naqvi told CNN-IBN that India runs on a federal structure and state governments based on the sentiments and demands of people decide on “which things to ban and which things not to ban”.

Asked about the opposition to the ban in states like Maharashtra, Naqvi said there are people who oppose anything and everything.

“Nobody is opposing. There are some people who think that one should oppose everything. People say business has been affected. I say those whose business is affected, send them to us (government), we will give them other business…they can sell vegetables,” he said.

PTI

Don’t intrude on people’s privacy over beef ban: Bombay HC tells Maha govt

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Wednesday declined to stay provisions of a recent Maharashtra law which prohibits possession, transportation and consumption of meat of cow, bulls and bullocks even if the animals have been slaughtered outside Maharashtra.

A division bench headed by Justice V M Kanade was of the view that no stay can be given until the final hearing of a bunch of petitions challenging the beef ban which was fixed on 25 June.

Bombay High Court. IBNLiveBombay High Court. IBNLive

Bombay High Court. IBNLive

The court asked the state government to file a detailed affidavit on the issue within four weeks and allowed the petitioners and intervenors to file rejoinders two weeks thereafter.

As a note of caution, the Court also said that the state shall not intrude on the privacy of citizens to find out if they are in possession of beef or any other form of meat.

The Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act, enforced last month by the state government, bans slaughter of cows, bulls and bullocks and also consumption and possession of their meat.

Three petitions were filed challenging Sections 5(d) and 9(a) of the Act which prohibits possession, transportation and consumption of meat of cow, bulls and bullocks even if the animals have been slaughtered outside Maharashtra.

According to the petitions, this puts a ban on import of meat. The petitions sought a stay on these sections.

In another development, the court directed the state not to take any coercive action till pendency of petitions or three months against traders who have been found in possession or transportation of beef.

“This is because the Act had been introduced suddenly and reasonable time was not given to the traders to dispose of their products,” said the Judges. However, FIRs can be registered against such traders but no further action can be taken until the petitions are decided finally or three months whichever is earlier, the court said.

The court also clarified that since ban on beef continues in the State under the Act, FIRs can be registered against slaughter of cows, bulls and bullocks.

The court clarified that no blanket stay can be imposed on the provisions of the Act which ban transportation or possession of beef, though FIR can be registered against the offenders under the Act. The judges said they were of the view that the traders had not been given reasonable time to dispose of the beef products as the Act was brought in all of a sudden. Hence they directed the State not to take coercive steps against them though FIR can be registered.

“There can be no compelling reason for the State to impose ban without giving a reasonable opportunity to traders provided they abided by the rules on food hygiene and safety,” said the division bench in their brief order.

Senior counsel Aspi Chinoy, appearing for one of the petitioners, had argued that such a ban on consumption was violative of the fundamental right of a person to have his choice of food.

“Section 5 (d) is extremely invasive, drastic and intrusive. There is no real justification behind making possession and consumption of beef a cognisable offence. The government should not arbitrarily invade the rights of citizens,” Chinoy argued. He said that the state has not even contemplated regulation of import of meat.

“Five states in India, including Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana, have permitted import of beef despite a ban on slaughter of those animals. And in these states passion go high in such matters but it is still allowed,” Chinoy said.

Advocate General Sunil Manohar had, however, argued that consumption of beef is not a fundamental right of a citizen and the state government can regulate a person’s fundamental right to have his choice of food.

“It is not a fundamental right of a citizen to eat beef. It cannot be said that the government cannot take away these rights. The state legislation can regulate consumption of flesh of any animal the source of which is reprehensible. Under the Animal Protection Act, there is a prohibition on consumption of wild boar, deer and other animals,” he argued.

Manohar further argued that if section 5(d) of the Act, which prohibits possession of meat, is struck down then the Act would remain only on paper and it would frustrate the purpose and object of the Act which is to protect cow progeny.

PTI

Bombay High Court upholds Maharashtra government’s ban on beef

Three petitions were filed challenging sections 5 (d) and 9 (a) of the Act, which prohibit possession and consumption of meat of cow, bulls and bullocks even if the animals have been slaughtered outside Maharashtra.

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday upheld Maharashtra government’s ban on beef. However, it directed the government not to take any coercive steps for its possession for the next three months. A division bench headed by Justice V M Kanade was of the view that no stay can be given until the final hearing of a bunch of petitions challenging the beef ban which was fixed on June 25.The court asked the state government to file a detailed affidavit on the issue within four weeks and allowed the petitioners and intervenors to file rejoinders two weeks thereafter.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In another development, the court directed the state not to take any coercive action till pendency of petitions or three months against traders who have been found in possession or transportation of beef.”This is because the Act had been introduced suddenly and reasonable time was not given to the traders to dispose of their products,” said the Judges.However, FIRs can be registered against such traders but no further action can be taken until the petitions are decided finally or three months whichever is earlier, the court said.A bunch of petitions had challenged the ban by government on consumption and possession of meat of slaughtered cows, bulls and bullocks.The Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act, enforced last month by the state government, bans slaughter of cows, bulls and bullocks and also consumption and possession of their meat.Three petitions were filed challenging sections 5 (d) and 9 (a) of the Act, which prohibit possession and consumption of meat of cow, bulls and bullocks even if the animals have been slaughtered outside Maharashtra.Also read: Anti-beef ban rally in Mumbai on May 5According to the petitions, this puts a ban on import of meat. The petitions had sought a stay on these sections. Senior counsel Aspi Chinoy, appearing for one of the petitioners, had argued that such a ban on consumption was violative of the fundamental right of a person to have his choice of food.”Five states in India, including Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana, have permitted import of beef despite a ban on slaughter of those animals. And in these states passion go high in such matters but it is still allowed,” Chinoy had said.Advocate General Sunil Manohar had, however, argued that consumption of beef is not a fundamental right of a citizen and the state government can regulate a person’s fundamental right to have his choice of food.”It is not a fundamental right of a citizen to eat beef. It cannot be said that the government cannot take away these rights. The state legislation can regulate consumption of flesh of any animal the source of which is reprehensible.Under the Animal Protection Act, there is a prohibition on consumption of wild boar, deer and other animals,” he argued.

Of dead cows and Dalits: Revisiting Babasaheb Ambedkar’s inconvenient history of caste conversion

“He saw the universal brotherhood of Islam uniting just Muslims. He was critical of the spirit of aggression of political Islam that takes advantage of the weakness of Hindus and follows gangsterism,” declared Prafulla Ketkar, editor of the RSS mouthpiece Organiser, expounding on his publication’s controversial edition commemorating BR Ambedkar’s 124th birth anniversary.

Ketkar went on to claim that Ambedkar supported ‘reconversion’, saying, “In a way, he also supported ghar wapsi. That he converted to Buddhism after Gandhi’s death and as per his promise to Gandhiji chose the religion closest to Hinduism after giving a lot of time to Hindu society.”

Reuters image.Reuters image.

Reuters image.

The attempt of the RSS to focus on Ambedkar’s purported disdain for Islam, of course, diverts attention from his withering analysis of Hinduism, the pathetic social status it accords to Dalits, and the legitimising of their exploitation. It also elides the reasons why Ambedkar converted to Buddhism, and inspired a segment of Mahars in Maharashtra to convert to do the same in 1956.

Through conversion, Dr Ambedkar subtly sought to overturn the centuries-old triumph of Brahmanism over Buddhism, the consequence of which he thought was Hinduism as we know it today – and which he ultimately rejected. For the RSS bosses wishing to reconfigure Ambedkar’s thoughts through an undue emphasis on just an aspect of his prodigious writings, it might make tremendous sense to read his The Untouchables: Who Were They and Why they Became Untouchables?

From dead cow to sacred cow

Reading Ambedkar’s writing will be particularly edifying for the RSS bosses who are currently spearheading the movement to expand the ban on cow slaughter to include bullocks and oxen, besides imposing punishment for its violation far more severe than what even committing of social crimes invite. The ban on cattle-slaughter, as we all know, has been justified because it is said to hurt the sentiments of all Hindus.

However, in The Untouchables, Ambedkar’s analysis links the untouchable status of certain castes to their eating of the dead cow. This became a marker of untouchability because of the historical process through which the consumption of beef became a religious taboo.

As Dr Ambedkar writes, “… If beef-eating had remained a secular affair – a mere matter of individual taste – such a bar between those who ate beef and those who did not would not have arisen. Unfortunately beef-eating, instead of being treated as a purely secular matter, was made a matter of religion. This happened because the Brahmins made the cow a sacred animal. This made beef-eating a sacrilege.”

In contrast to the extant RSS commentary claiming that the cow had been a sacred animal for all Hindus from time immemorial, Dr Ambedkar cites from innumerable ancient texts to show otherwise. “In Rig Veda (X. 86.14) Indira says, ‘They cook for one 15 plus twenty oxen.’ The Rig Veda (X. 91.14) says that for Agni were sacrificed horses, bulls, oxen, barren cows and rams. From the Rig Veda (X, 72.6) it appears that the cow was killed with a sword or an axe.”

He quotes Taittiriya Brahmana to show it described even the kind of cows and oxen to be sacrificed for different deities. “Thus, a dwarf ox is to be chosen for sacrifice to Vishnu; a drooping horned bull with a blaze on the forehead to Indra as the destroyer of Vritra; a black cow to Pushan; a red cow to Rudra; and so on,” Dr Ambedkar writes.

He also records a fact which is well known – the killing of cow in honour of the guest had become so rampant that it inspired the synonym of go-ghna, or the killer of the cow, to describe him. The Ashvalayana Grahya Sutra, he says, advises people to let loose their cows to evade adhering to the social norm demanding they be slaughtered at the arrival of guests.

Perhaps feeding beef to guests became a binding socio-cultural norm because the performance of religious rituals included sacrificing the cow. For the non-Brahmins, however, the cow was a prohibitively expensive animal, sacrificed to propitiate deities only on special occasions.

“But the case with the Brahmin was different,” Dr Ambedkar notes. “In a period overridden by ritualism there was hardly a day on which there was no cow sacrifice to which the Brahmin was not invited by some non-Brahmin. For the Brahmin every day was a beef-steak day.” Considering the grip of Brahmins over the society, and the importance of the cow in the agrarian economy then, it was only natural for societal reaction to set in.

Buddhist roots of the beef ban

This reaction against the Brahmin facilitated the rise of Buddhism, which, contrary to the popular belief in India, did not ban cow-slaughter, but imposed certain restrictions on it – that is, what was needless and unnecessary. Since Buddhism was opposed to the extreme, suffocating ritualism of the Brahmin, the practice of cow-slaughter began to wane.

However, Buddhism did allow people to eat beef, not even banning it for Buddhist monks. Dr Ambedkar quotes the Chinese traveller Yuan Chwang to say the Buddhist monks were disallowed to eat the flesh of those animals “which they had seen put to death for them, or about which they had been told that it had been slain for them… (or) not suspected by them to have been on their account.” Barring these three types – described, rather evocatively, as “unseen, unheard, unsuspected” – they could otherwise eat meat of any animal, including of those which died naturally or was killed by a predatory creature.

The rise and consolidation of Buddhism dethroned the Brahmins, so to speak, from their pedestal of prestige, prompting them to rethink the strategies to re-establish their supremacy. The mere banning of animal sacrifice for religious purposes wouldn’t have sufficed, Dr Ambedkar speculates, because it would have only put them on par with the Buddhist monks. The Brahmin’s goal, he argues, was to occupy the place of honour the Buddhist monk had acquired by “their opposition to the killing of the cow for sacrificial purposes.”

Dr Ambedkar goes on to write, “To achieve their purpose the Brahmins had to adopt the usual tactics of a reckless adventurer… It is the strategy which all rightists use to overcome the leftists. The only way to beat the Buddhists was to go a step further and be vegetarians.” Thus, the practice of cow-slaughter was abandoned and vegetarianism began to be considered virtuous.

As Hinduism began to stage a comeback and Brahmins started to again enjoy royal patronage, the cow acquired a sacred status, its killing deemed a sacrilege. “Cow-killing was made a mortal sin or a capital offence by the Gupta kings who were champions of Hinduism,” notes Dr Ambedkar. He quotes historian D.R. Bhandarkar, who in his Some Aspects of Ancient Indian Culture cites a copper plate inscription, dated 465 AD and belonging to Skandagupta’s reign, which equates gau-hatya, or cow-slaughter, with brahma-hatya, or the slaying of a Brahmin. This equivalence is more or less echoed in an earlier inscription of 412 AD. It was from then on cow-slaughter began to be considered a mortal sin.

Beef becomes a caste marker

Barring the untouchable castes, why did other non-Brahmins forsake beef? Ambedkar says it was because inferior classes tend to imitate the lifestyle of superior classes – which the Brahmin had become at least from the Gupta period. He goes on to ask a pertinent question: Why did the untouchable castes not give up eating beef? Incidentally, Ambedkar refers to them as the Broken Men, or tribes which were vanquished and routed and compelled to live outside the villages.

Dr Ambedkar says these castes, or the Broken Men, were too penurious to slaughter cows for their consumption. They, perforce, had to eat the flesh of cows which died naturally. When cow-slaughter was proscribed and declared sacrilegious, the Broken Men were allowed to consume the flesh of the dead cow – after all, they were eating what they had not killed, but had died naturally. It did not flout the violation of the ban. The meat of dead cow given to them free was, and still remains in large parts of India, their principal food of sustenance.

In fact, Ambedkar says castes such as the Mahars traditionally enjoyed the right to remove and carry away dead cows from the houses of those who owned them. But what was once a privilege became an obligation, says Ambedkar. He observes, “As they could not escape carrying the dead cow they did not mind using the flesh as food in the manner in which they were doing previously.”

Obviously, obligations almost always have the force of sanction. There is inherent compulsion built into this system. Ambedkar notes perspicaciously, “There is no community which is really an Untouchable community which has not something to do with the dead cow. Some eat her flesh, some remove the skin, some manufacture articles out of her skin and bones.”

Obviously, beef isn’t a taboo for Dalits even today. The inclusion of cattle in the market economy – to be sold, bought, and slaughtered – the increase in cattle population, the consequent cheaper price at which its meat can be purchased, are all factors why Dalits wouldn’t hesitate to consume beef.

This is why the RSS-inspired ban on cow-slaughter remains as much a cultural imposition as it was centuries ago. Just as the Gupta dynasty harnessed their power in the fifth century to declare the killing of cow as a mortal sin or fit for capital punishment, so is the RSS exploiting the BJP’s majority at the Centre to expand the ban on cow-slaughter to include the bull and the bullock.

In this endeavour to further its cultural project, Ambedkar’s writings become an obstacle difficult to surmount. It just suits the RSS to project him as anti-Muslim, forgetting his defining interest was to guide the Dalits to walk the path most favourable to their interests. Islam and Hinduism were weeds or, at best, irrelevant overgrowth slowing the march of Dalits to win honour, respect and, above all, their rights.

(Ajaz Ashraf is a journalist from Delhi. His novel, The Hour Before Dawn, published by HarperCollins, is available in bookstores. Email: [email protected])

Don’t panic: Here’s why Maharashtra govt won’t ban mutton any time soon

Advocate General Sunil Manohar has landed himself in a soup over his comments before a bench of the Bombay High Court while attempting to defend the beef ban in Maharashtra. What is likely a throwaway remark in a courtroom has generated front page headlines that is unlikely to go down well with his employer, ie the state government.

When a division bench of Justices VM Kanade and AR Joshi asked the state government’s lawyer why inly the slaughter of cows and bulls had been banned and not animals like goat, Manohar responded by saying: “This is just the start (banning of cows, bulls and bullocks). We may consider banning slaughter of other animals too. As of now the state felt it was necessary to protect cows, bulls and bullocks.”

While this response has quickly become controversial, in the courtroom, it was not taken seriously by the bench itself.

Representational image. Reuters imageRepresentational image. Reuters image

Representational image. Reuters image

“That may lead to migration from the state. Don’t consider a ban on fishes though,” the judges reportedly remarked in jest.

The Advocate General reportedly clarified that the state had no intention of enforcing vegetarianism on the state’s residents and only intends to regulate the meat industry.

“To regulate is not to prohibit absolutely,” the advocate general reportedly told the bench.

While senior counsel Aspi Chinoy, appearing for a petitioner who has challenged the beef ban, argued that the ban was against the fundamental right of a citizen and that if the law was purely to preserve cattle in Maharashtra then the import of meat should be allowed.

However, Manohar insisted t that the government was against that as well.

“How can the state say slaughter of cattle in Maharashtra amounts to cruelty but one can slaughter outside the state? That would also amount to cruelty. The Act incidentally prohibits import also,” Manohar said.

However, the high court bench pointed out to the Advocate General that banning the possession of beef would effectively prohibit slaughter outside the state of Maharashtra a as well.

“Section 5 (d) of the Act which is under challenge does not prohibit slaughter of cattle outside the state. Why should a person be prevented to eat or possess beef that has been slaughtered outside? Indirectly you (government) are prohibiting slaughter of animals outside the state too,” Justice Kanade observed.

While the arguments in high court were about the larger impact of the ban of beef in the state, the outrage over the spectre of a ban on other meats has been far more visceral :

The state government has been silent so far but may be forced to clarify if only to battle the growing perception that it intends to turn Maharashtra into a vegetarian state.

But this isn’t the first time a government lawyer has generated bitter controversy.

RAdditional Solicitor General P P Malhotra? The lawyer representing the central government before the Supreme Court in 2012 famously argued that the central government was opposed to the Delhi High Court’s verdict decriminalising gay sex. This despite the fact that it contradicted the government’s own publicly stated position. As a result, he was subsequently shunted out of the case, and the central government sent another lawyer to plead their case.

Manohar’s statement is likely to put the government on the back foot given the flak it is already facing over the beef ban. The BJP-Shiv Sena government in Maharashtra can justify the beef ban to the Hindu voter base the parties rely on. But justifying a ban or even regulating the availability of other meats is a completely different ball game that neither party would want to undertake given the anger they’re likely to face even from within their own core constituencies. A chicken, fish or mutton ban or restriction would see a far greater backlash than beef.

The Maharashtra government also provides financial assistance for the development of the livestock and poultry industry and any move to cut back on it is likely to see the industrial lobby up in arms as well. The Maharashtra government’s will find it easier to completely dissociate itself from the Advocate General’s statement and perhaps leave him by the way side, if required. Manohar will become another Malhotra, a casualty of his own courtroom antics.

I’m vegan, I work for animal rights and I oppose Maharashtra’s beef ban

By N. Surabhi

I have spent the last ten years fighting animal abuse. It’s been both a personal campaign as well as a professional career. I’ve travelled across India and beyond to understand the circumstances in which animals are mistreated and why there’s so much apathy towards suffering in the land of ahimsa. I have witnessed and documented the agony that animals experience right from the time they are bred, bought, transported and killed – usually in the most horrific of conditions, all to be ‘used’ in various industries.

Reuters image.Reuters image.

Reuters image.

Considering my experiences, you’d think I’d be among those who would be happy about the recently imposed beef ban in Maharashtra, but I’m not. I’m an animal rights’ advocate, have been vegan for over a decade and I oppose the beef ban. I am also deeply disturbed by the support and call for support by some stalwarts of the animal protection community.Why? Because vegetarianism fuelled by religion is very different from making an informed choice on animal welfare.

For most in India, vegetarianism does not stem from any kind of ethical belief about how animals are being treated or should be treated. The time that I have spent working in this field has taught me that cow protection, an animal welfare issue, is mostly linked to religious one-upmanship in India. The beef ban is an excellent example. The rationale governing the ban is ostensibly this: the cow, considered sacred by Hindus, deserves ‘protection’ because of its special religious status.

Yet, if you look at the Vedas, the cow was revered but at the same time, beef was relished by all classes and castes of society, including the upper castes.

In ‘Untouchability, The Dead Cow And The Brahmin‘, Dr. BR Ambedkar wrote that the texts suggest Hindus were indeed a beef-eating lot and that the ousting of beef from the Hindu diet was a result of the attempt at hegemony by the Brahmins over the Buddhists. The Buddhists were the ones who opposed animal slaughter and when they started gathering popularity, the Hindu vanguard responded by appropriating some aspects of Buddhism. And so, despite the Hindus’ supposed proclivity for beef, the cow came to occupy a venerable position in Hinduism and cow-killing became sacrilege.

In the 20th and 21st century, the issue of cow protection vis-à-vis slaughter has been used to deepen the fault lines between the non beef-eating Hindu majority and those that eat beef (religious minorities as well as members of “lower” castes). The ban in Maharashtra is an instrument of power play in the hands of the country’s political class and it makes a joke of the real issue of cattle welfare.

If the beef ban has been imposed for ethical reasons – that is, to prevent the suffering of animals – then how is a cow different from a chicken or a goat or even its close relative buffalo? Why aren’t other animals included within the ambit of this law? If your argument is that chicken and mutton comprise a vital part of people’s diets, here is a fact for you to chew on. Beef, which was half the price of mutton, was a cheap source of protein for India’s poor. Simple economics tells us that pulling beef off the shelves will lead to an increase in the prices and demand for other meat especially chicken, which will in turn increase the suffering of countless animals. There’s nothing ethical about the conditions in which most chicken are raised, incidentally. I would argue that of all the animals raised for food, hens and chickens suffer the most.

Proponents of the ban point to the alleged atrocities by the meat industry and the cruelty of slaughter. However, if the cow is sacred because of her milk, her suffering is because of that milk too.

Most cows in India are reared for use in the dairy industry. Those that are fit for milk production are constantly impregnated, separated from their calves and pumped with hormones in order to keep up milk production. Male calves are either abandoned at birth or sold to slaughterhouses. Some may be used as working animals on farmland while selected bulls are used for breeding. However, once these cows and bulls lose their productive value, these ‘spent’ animals are either abandoned or slaughtered for use in the beef and other industries.

If the point of the ban is to uphold the sanctity of the cow and ensure its welfare, then the problem is far from solved. India is the world’s largest producer of milk. In a growing economy, consumption of dairy is bound to increase, which means more cruelty to cattle both during and after their use.

Abandoned cattle are commonplace in India and with a ban on slaughter, this number will only shoot up. In the course of my work, I have visited many gaushalas (independent organisations that take in abandoned/stray cattle). I have found that often the upkeep of these animals is dismal, either because of lack of funds and infrastructure to provide adequate care or because of apathy towards to the plight of these animals. Don’t be surprised if the situation of abandoned cattle gets significantly worse and more cattle show up on the streets in Maharashtra.

I am not the only one to have seen countless cattle die painful deaths on the roadside because they ingested plastic from the garbage we discard thoughtlessly. Many have had more than 20kgs of plastic removed from their stomachs. These ‘stray’ cattle risk being transported illegally to other states where slaughter isn’t banned. This means enduring horrible journeys. Cattle are cramped into the back of trucks. Often, they’re so tightly packed that they their tails break at the joints. The animals are kept hungry, suffer fatigue and face the risk of disease.

Simply put, everyone who is holding a glass of milk is responsible for the slaughter of the holy cow.

Animal welfare is more than just animal rescue and worship. It’s a fact that our sustenance is derived from the environment, which includes animals. Welfare needs to encompass empathy for these creatures by negating the suffering that we may bring upon them, to the least possible extent. Ethics and moral compass is not a political ordinance. They should guide us to build a society that privileges non-violence – the same ahimsa that we tote internationally – rather than a society divided by religion. If the interests of cattle are indeed our concern, it requires a comprehensive overhaul of the systems that govern industries that depend on cattle; stringent enforcement of animal welfare laws; and most importantly, individual lifestyle changes. All this requires the individual and collective exercise of our will.

This hollow ban on beef does nothing for cattle in India. If anything, it hurts more than it helps because it’s more about a regressive conservatism and politics. Why support a ban that affects only minority communities? Because it serves a political and religious agenda. And if it turns out that the state government will relax the stipulations and allow beef to be imported into Maharashtra, then there might even be an economic agenda.

Sadly, the state of the cow’s affairs, however, is the least of anyone’s concerns.

N Surabhi is an animal rights advocate and has worked in several animal welfare projects all over India.

Aadhaar cards for cows? 3 reasons why this vegetarian opposes the beef ban

I am a vegetarian. I do not eat beef, or for that matter, chicken, mutton, or pork. It is difficult in the best of circumstances for me to summon up a firm opinion on all things meat. (More so, perhaps, since my dietary preference has little to do with either ideology or faith). Watching the fervent debate rage online, in the media, and in political circles over the beef ban in the past month,I often felt as bemused as I did the first time I watching the Super Bowl at a US college dorm.

That said, there is no doubt, however, about which side I support in this controversy which is now unfolding with the combination of ardour and absurdity that one has come to associate with the religious right in this country. This is so for a number of reasons.

One, it is impossible for any right-thinking person (pun unintended) to side, or even sympathise, with idiocy. The sheer foolishness of the Hindutva campaign to save the cow is illustrated by two recent bits of news.

The Times of India reports today:

“The Malegaon police, who last week registered the first case under Maharashtra’s new law banning beef, have now issued a diktat to all owners of cows and bullocks in the township: submit to the local police station the photograph of each and every cow and bullock, so that police can keep the pictures in their files for reference just in case a criminal case crops up.”

AFP.AFP.

AFP.

Apparently, the cops plan to conduct “a census” in order to track and protect the cattle. Anyone who fails to “register” their cattle will likely end up like the Malegaon resident whose five cows were recently confiscated without an FIR or evidence of wrongdoing.

Given our Home Minister Rajnath Singh‘s support for the Maharashtra initiative, we can expect cows across the nation to soon enjoy the same privileges. A National ID for cattle. Quick, someone get Nandan Nilekani on it.

Two, dietary dictatorship is undemocratic. No democracy can or should impose the dietary beliefs of one group on all of its citizens.

The bottom-line is that a lot of Indians eat beef. And many of them are Hindu. As evidence, I could point to my various relatives and friends (a form of argumentation recently perfected by Jagdish Bhagwati in The Mint), but the religious identity or number of beef-eaters is incidental to the principle at stake. If even a small number of Indians eat beef (just because they like it) in a democracy, it should be legal. Anyone who mistakes freedom for the tyranny of the majority really needs to go back to school.

Besides, someone spare a thought for the rights of our caged tigers and lions who have been caught in the crossfire between an overzealous state government and angry traders. One side has deprived them of beef and the other of buffalo, reducing them to a diet of chicken.

And while we are on the subject of animals, villagers who live near the Kanha Tiger Reserve have long been forgiving of big cats who prey on their cattle (and livelihood). But their government shows no such compassion for humans who eat beef. A person can spend up to 7 years in jail in MP for eating the wrong kind of kebab, even as tigers maul gau mata at will. Such are the crimes against logic committed by this kind of cultural policing.

My third and last reason: The beef ban has little to do with compassion or even reverence for cows. Just look around you in any city, and you will see emaciated, half starved cattle wandering the streets, feeding on garbage. The reality is that raising cows is expensive, and most households who own cows cannot afford to do so. As Firstpost senior editor Pramod Kumar points out , the BJP governments — in Maharashtra and elsewhere — has no plans or funding allocated to the care of the cows ‘saved’ by the beef ban.

And, oh, if the Hindu right thinks that driving beef trade underground is any kind of solution, they are dreadfully mistaken. A PETA investigation, confirmed by the Independent, showed that the black market in beef results in the worst kind of animal cruelty, as cattle are beaten, tortured and brutally killed outside the purview of the state.

Besides, if Rajnath Singh really cares about cows, he may want to take a closer look at the practices of the Indian dairy industry which routinely starves calves to death, keeps dairy animals in inhumane conditions, pumping them full of hormones.

Or we could ban milk, as well, and cheese, and dahi. No? In that case, let’s not be picking on beef and see the ban for what it is: the Hindutva right seizing on an excuse to promote its spurious ‘Hindu rashtra’ agenda. If we truly care for animals, let’s push instead for more stringent regulations requiring humane conditions for all animals, be they raised for dairy or slaughter. Surely that is one agenda that all of us — vegetarians, eggitarians, pork, beef or chicken eaters — can all get behind.

Dear BJP, dump the #BeefBan in Maharashtra and reduce hunger instead

Polarising people in the name of religion is too overt, but doing it by pitting their eating habits against each other may have the same effect while appearing totally benign.

The ban of sale, possession and consumption of beef in Maharashtra with stringent punishment is certainly a political move because cow is sacred to the Hindus, according to the BJP and Hindu organisations, and most of the beef business is handled by Muslims. More over, most of the consumers of beef are also believed to be Muslims and Christians. After all, you are what you eat, seems to be the message from the government that brands and divide people.

BJP workers protesting against a beef fest in a Hyderabad university clash with police. AFP.BJP workers protesting against a beef fest in a Hyderabad university clash with police. AFP.

BJP workers protesting against a beef fest in a Hyderabad university clash with police. Image from AFP.

From now own, no cows will be killed in Maharashtra. They will be raised compassionately and allowed to age gracefully and die under human care. The government will set up cow-shelters, where the cows will be cared for once they run out of milk. Nobody knows how many millions of cows Maharashtra has, but certainly it will have a fair share of India’s livestock that makes the country the largest producers of milk. Granted that bulk of it comes from buffalos, but the number of cows is also significant.

In a country where basic hunger of people is still unmet, the upkeep of the cows that cannot be slaughtered will ultimately fall on the farmer, who incidentally will have to stop rearing cows because the cost will impoverish him/her. It will have an impact on the economies of poor and rural households besides affecting milk overall production of the state.

It’s for these reasons that the father of Indian white revolution, Verghese Kurien had staunchly opposed the ban on cow-slaughter. In his autobiography, he recalls his efforts to oppose the ban on cow-slaughter on behalf of the dairy industry: “My brief was to prevent any ban on cow slaughter. It was important for us in the dairy business to keep weeding out the unhealthy cows so that available resources could be utilised for healthy and productive cattle. I was prepared to go as far as to allow that no useful cow should be killed. This was the point on which the Shankaracharya and I invariably locked horns and got into heated arguments. I constantly asked him, ‘Your Holiness, are you going to take all the useless cows which are not producing anything and look after them and feed them till they die? You know that cannot work.’ He never had any answer to my query.”

For the time being, most of the owners in states such as Maharashtra do not kill cows, but allow them to be smuggled out of the states to be slaughtered elsewhere, including in Bangladesh. According to this Atlantic article, India has about 30,000 illegal slaughter houses and about two million cows are smuggled to Bangladesh in a year. Will Maharashtra government establish a border patrol to stop cattle movement?

Besides being part of a global culinary culture, beef is also a great source of protein, in fact among the top ten food sources. For years, till the restrictions jacked up its price, it had been the cheapest source of protein. By crippling its availability in a region that is worse than sub Saharan Africa in protein malnourishment is foolish. More over, meat proteins are far more complete in terms of the essential amino acids that the human body requires. The ban is a direct threat to the already fragile food security of people.

BJP says that banning cow-slaughter is its election promise. Will the BJP ruled states set up homes and budgets for taking care of unproductive cows? Is it even feasible while the problem of hunger is “alarming” in most of the states except in Punjab, Kerala, Assam and Andhra Pradesh? In fact, the Hunger Index of Gujarat, another state where cows cannot be slaughtered, is worse than India’s national average, which incidentally is worse than countries such as Pakistan and Malawi.

Will the BJP now turn to India’s beef exports? In his prime ministerial campaign, Narendra Modi had made fun of the Congress for promoting a “pink revolution”, which meant exporting beef. As the second largest exporter of beef in the world, India earns about $ 4.3 billion a year. According to BJP, the Congress had encouraged beef exports (although most of it’s buffalo meat) to placate the Muslims. Modi had promised to stop this. Will he? If he does, polarisation of people using beef-politics will be complete. His economists may advise against it because it’s a lot of foreign exchange.

The ban, if strictly enforced across India, will certainly affect rearing cows. In the name of religion, meddling with a mutually beneficial ecosystem that has contributed immensely to the country’s food security, is foolish.

Instead of fanning religious emotions of people, what the country needs are stringent measures for the upkeep of productive cattle so that they don’t wander on city roads and highways and die eating garbage and plastic. If we are kind to our cattle, we should modernise abattoirs and  enforce global standards in our meat industry.

Lastly, that Hindus don’t eat beef is a myth. For instance, majority of Hindus, including the saffronites, in Kerala eat it. For many years it had been their staple protein until factory-bred chicken replaced it as a cheaper option in recent times. In big cities and state capitals, the elite and the well-travelled love their steaks and beef-burgers. Instead of focusing on cows and beef, the BJP governments should be encouraged to reduce hunger and the severe protein malnourishment of its people.

Misdirected outrage over #BeefBan: Calm down, you weren’t eating it anyway

Are you a resident of Mumbai, non-vegetarian in your dietary preferences and spent the bulk of your day so far outraged over the ban on beef in the state? If so, we’re sorry to inform you that you’ve wasted your time. All the time you thought you were eating beef? Most likely you weren’t, unless you were buying it from a butcher directly. Restaurants haven’t been serving it for years.

The few doubts that may have persisted over what exactly is served when you order a beef steak were dispelled by Riyaaz Amlani, head of the National Restaurant Association of India, who confirmed that no restaurant that he knows in Mumbai has been serving cow or bullock meat.

“We’ve been eating buffalo meat for a lot of time and we (restaurants) have been only serving buffalo meat,” Amlani told Firstpost.

No we haven't been eating cow in Maharashtra for years. Reuters imageNo we haven't been eating cow in Maharashtra for years. Reuters image

No we haven’t been eating cow in Maharashtra for years. Reuters image

Even the import of cow meat from markets like New Zealand were stopped a couple of years ago after the law which says that even imported cow meat can’t be served in restaurants.

But he is opposed to the ban. Not because he won’t be able to eat cow meat, but because he feels it hits the creativity of chefs in the city. Amlani blames the ban on ingredients for Mumbai’s restaurants not being able to break into the list of the world’s top restaurants.

“As a restaurateur I want to get access to all ingredients and a poverty of ingredients is already affecting our chefs. From an artistic point of view we don’t want this. What will be banned next, onions and garlic?” he said.

So then should you be outraged by the President signing the law and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’s tweet of celebration?

Turns out you should. As per reports, the new legislation bans the slaughter of bullocks as well, including those that have a fit-for-slaughter certificate. So now if you slaughter either a cow or a bull you stand to face five years in jail and a fine of Rs 10,000.

Slaughter of buffaloes? Untouched. The supply of the beef you are used to eating in restaurants will basically continue.

But the ban on the slaughter of bulls will have other effects.

Nawab Mallik, spokesperson of the Nationalist Congress Party, said that bullock meat has been available in Maharashtra, and in Mumbai, for years and the ban on it would hit farmers, the community that slaughters it and the poor who consume it.

“Farmers could sell off unproductive bullocks for slaughter but now they will be stuck feeding them for years until they die. Or they could just leave them and let them wander, which is something that could damage other farms,” Mallik said.

Bullock meat was primarily consumed by the poor and also provided an avenue of employment for the butchers, both of whom will be hit hard, he said. According to Mallik, the only way out is if the government buys unproductive bulls from farmers.

However, he hints at a more communal angle in the news being spread that cows won’t be slaughtered because the slaughter of cows had been stopped as far as back as the 1970s.

“The connection that they are seeking to make is that only Muslims eat cows but that is completely untrue. Even Christians and others consume beef from bullocks,” he said.

Khalid Qureshi, the head of the Mumbai unit of a body which represents the Qureshi community that deals in beef, said that the move would only render many involved in beef trade unemployed.

“The cow is sacred to the Hindu community and we have never killed cows in Maharashtra. But when the bullock is not sacred why pass a law to ban their slaughter?” he asked, adding that it would affect those who did consume the meat from such slaughter.

However its unlikely that the many who are upset about the ban on beef are outraged about these factors. You should be outraged for farmers who will be saddled with unproductive animals, for butchers who could face unemployment . You should be outraged because the state is infringing on the freedom of communities to consume food of their choice. And if you’re an animal rights activist you should cheer and redirect your outrage towards stopping the slaughter of chicken, pigs, goats and buffaloes.

But don’t waste your time and energy complaining about not having cow and bullock meat in the restaurants of Mumbai. You weren’t eating it anyway.

Beef banned in Maharashtra: 5 years jail, Rs 10,000 for possession and sale

The bill banning cow slaughter in Maharashtra, pending for several years, on Monday received the President’s assent, which means red meat lovers in the state will have to do without beef.

This measure has taken almost twenty years to materialize and was initiated during the previous Sena-BJP government.The bill was  first submitted to the President for approval on January 30, 1996.. However, subsequent governments at the Centre, including the BJP led NDA stalled it and did not seek the President’s consent.

A delegation of seven state BJP MPs led by Kirit Somaiya, (MP from Mumbai North) had met the President in New Delhi recently and submitted a memorandum seeking assent to the bill. The memorandum said that the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Bill, 1995, passed during the previous Shiv Sena-BJP regime, was pending for approval for 19 years.

“Thanks a lot honourable President sir for the assent on Maharashtra Animal Preservation Bill. Our dream of ban on cow-slaughter becomes reality now,” chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said on Twitter. A delegation of seven state BJP MPs had met the President recently and submitted a memorandum.

Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis. PTI

Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis. PTI

The law will ban beef from the slaughter of bulls and bullocks, which was previously allowed based on a fit-for-slaughter certificate, according to The Indian Express. The new Act will, however, allow the slaughter of water buffaloes.

The punishment for the sale of beef or possession of it could be prison for five years with an additional fine of Rs 10,000. “Apart from rendering people jobless, the immediate effect will be the spiralling price of other meats as people will be forced to gravitate to them,” Indian Express quoted president of the Mumbai Suburban Beef Dealer Association Mohammed Qureshi as saying.

Reuters had earlier reported that Hindu nationalists in India had stepped up attacks on the country’s beef industry, seizing trucks with cattle bound for abattoirs and blockading meat processing plants in a bid to halt the trade in the world’s second-biggest exporter of beef.

An official at a beef transport group in Maharashtra state said around 10 vehicles travelling to Mumbai had been stopped in the last week of February, the animals taken forcefully and drivers beaten up by members of Hindu nationalist groups despite carrying valid documents.

However, a BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari told The Hindu that the party’s efforts to seek a ban on slaughter of calves should not be viewed with a communal lens but keeping in mind the “interests of agrarian communities.

(With inputs from Reuters)

#BeefBan creates social media storm: Outrage, anger and threats to move to Goa

Beef has banned in Maharashtra, and social media is very unhappy.

A bill banning cow slaughter in Maharashtra, that has been pending for several years, received the President’s assent on Monday. This means that red meat lovers in the state will have to do without their beef chillie fry and steak.

ReutersReuters

Reuters

This law, twenty years in the waiting- was initiated during the previous Sena-BJP government in 1995. The bill was first submitted to the President for approval on January 30, 1996.

However, subsequent governments at the Centre, including the BJP led NDA stalled it and did not seek the President’s consent for the bill to pass into law.

However a delegation of seven state BJP MPs led by Kirit Somaiya, (MP from Mumbai North) had met the President in New Delhi recently and submitted a memorandum seeking assent to the bill. The memorandum said that the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Bill, 1995, passed during the previous Shiv Sena-BJP regime, was pending for approval for 19 years.

Beef lovers all over the state have broken down in sheer disbelief, shock and heartbreak over this decision and as is customary in this day and age of social media, have taken to Twitter and Facebook to vent. In fact at the time of writing, #BeefBan was the second highest trend on Twitter India.

Some people lambasted the government for trying to tell them what they could and could not eat. Others threatened to move to Goa.

We take a look at some of the social media outrage:

while we’re on the topic of banning food… lauki really hurts my religious sentiments. #banlauki

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