Centre's Ban on Cattle Sale for Slaughter Has Northeast India Worried
Kerala objected first and some Northeastern states are following suit. After the Environment Ministry decided to quietly push forth a notification banning the sale of any cattle, and not just cow, for slaughter in any open market, the beef consuming states in the Northeast are up in arms.
The Centre has banned the sale and purchase of cattle from animal markets for slaughter. (File photo/Reuters)
New Delhi: Kerala objected first and some Northeastern states are following suit. After the Environment Ministry decided to quietly push forth a notification banning the sale of any cattle, and not just cow, for slaughter in any open market, the beef consuming states in the Northeast are up in arms.
Raising the red flag are none other than the office-bearers of the BJP in poll-bound Meghalaya. “Cattle slaughter and market regulation are state subjects. The Union ministry may have taken a decision regarding this, but it will have no impact in the state,” senior party leader in the state David Kharasati told CNN-News18.
Meghalaya's Congress government has accused the BJP-led Centre of “acting like a dictator”. State minister Zenith Sangma said the notification “goes against the letter and spirit of the Centre-State relationship”.
Data from the latest National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) shows that around 80 million people — 1 in every 13 Indians — eat beef or buffalo meat. Of them, the Northeastern states form a dominant chunk — Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, hill areas of Manipur and the tribal belt of Tripura have high consumption levels.
Sources in the Mizoram government indicated that even if the notification is not modified, there would hardly be any impact in the markets in the state as the implementation finally depends on the state government.
The BJP government in Assam has so far kept mum, but cattle sellers in the state are apprehensive. Many of them say the notification’s timing, just before Ramzan, can lead to meat scarcity in the state as the supply chain from Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and other states can come to a standstill.
The Chief Ministers of the Northeastern state would be in Delhi on May 29 for the North East Council meeting. Some of them are likely to raise questions on the notification on the sidelines of the meeting.
(With inputs from Purbasha Bhattacharjee in Shillong)
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