New Delhi: The Congress on Monday suspended members of its youth wing who had participated in a 'beef fest' organised in Kerala to protest against the Centre's ban on sale of cattle for slaughter at animal markets.
The move came amid a political slugfest over the alleged slaughter of an ox by Youth Congress member Rijil Makulti and his accomplices, an act condemned on Twitter by party vice-president Rahul Gandhi and Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor.
What happened in Kerala yesterday is thoughtless,barbaric& completely unacceptable to me &the Congress Party.I strongly condemn the incident
— Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG) May 28, 2017
Agree strongly. One does not need to descend to that level to prove a point. Cruelty to animals is unacceptable for any reason in any case. https://t.co/1t4SFaLwFX
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) May 28, 2017
Rijil Makulti and his accomplices have been booked for the alleged ox slaughter in Kannur during the 'beef fest' organised across the state by the Congress and the Left.
"A case has been registered under Sect 120 A of the Kerala Police Act on the basis of a complaint of Yuva Morcha activist", Kannur SP Siva Vikram, told PTI.
The offence deals with slaughtering any animal in a way that causes annoyance or inconvenience to the public and is punishable with imprisonment up to one year or a fine of up to Rs 5,000 or with both.
Despite Congress’s efforts to distance itself from the incident, Makulti said he had no regrets. "We don't regret our act. This was done as part of our protest," he told a television channel on Sunday.
The central government’s notification has triggered a political storm in Kerala with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan shooting off a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying the ban amounted to an "intrusion" into the rights of the states.
"Absence of efforts to take the states into confidence on such a drastic move, with far reaching consequences, is detrimental to our democracy," Vijayan said. "I am afraid it amounts to an intrusion into the rights of the state in our federal structure," he added.
He said meat was the primary source of protein for millions of the poor and ordinary people in the country, particularly Dalits. Such restrictions being imposed on the eve of Ramzan, would certainly appear to certain communities in the country as a "direct attack on them," Vijayan said.
The Centre has banned the sale and purchase of cattle from animal markets for slaughter, a move that is expected to hit export and trade of meat and leather. Demonstrations were held outside the secretariat in Thiruvanathapuram where the protesters cooked and distributed beef on the road side.
The UDF will observe 'black day' on Monday against the ban, opposition leader in the assembly Ramesh Chennithala said at Thrissur. Chennithala also wrote to Modi against the new law. UDF workers will wear black badges and take out protest marches, he said.
(With PTI inputs)