New Delhi: Hundreds gathered in Aizawl, Mizoram, on June 12 to eat beef curry at a “beef ban bashing banquet” organised by a local group to protest the Centre’s ban on the sale of cattle for slaughter. The protest coincided with home minister Rajnath Singh’s two-day visit to the state, reported PTI.
Singh, on his first visit to Mizoram, chaired a meeting to review security and development related issues with the chief ministers of the four Northeastern states that share borders with Myanmar.
“We have our delicious beef, don’t force on us your belief,” said a member of the Zolife group, which had organised the protest at the Vanapa hall in the state capital. Protesters held placards that read “Accept our difference or expect resistance,” “Beef ban – religious arrogance, historical ignorance and cultural fascism” and “For god’s sake, let’s eat beef”.
With beef being the staple food for most people in the Northeast, protesters have unanimously been opposing the government’s ban. Meghalaya, where 81% of the population eat beef, on Monday passed a resolution against the Centre’s notification and demanded its withdrawal as it would “impact the economy of the state and the food habits of its people”.
All political factions came together in Meghalaya’s assembly, as chief minister Mukul Sangma tabled the resolution, saying that the ban was “designed to affect” the people of the Northeast and Meghalaya in particular.
The resolution said, “This House takes a strong note of the shortcomings and infirmities in these Rules (Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Regulation of Livestock Markets Rules, 2017), as notified and resolves that the same may be withdrawn by the government of India with an immediate effect, so as to maintain the federal and secular character of our constitution or be faced with a situation where the law prohibit some activity, while the everyday-life practices it on a large-scale due to harsh economic realities, a situation surely to be avoided at all costs.”
The chief minister also said that beef, an “integral part” of the diet of Meghalaya’s tribes, saw a demand of 23,634 metric tonnes in 2015-16. The ban on the sale and purchase of cattle for slaughter at animal markets would affect the state’s economy in a major way as 79% households in the state were involved in cattle-rearing and this would affect the livelihoods of 5.7 lakh people.
“It will also affect the right of the people to have food of their own choice and celebrate the religious, cultural and social ceremonies in practice since time immemorial,” Sangma said in the assembly.