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Sacred cows and commonwealth games

Monday, March 22, 2010 05:36:13 AM, NM Sampathkumar Iyangar

Karnataka to enforce cow slaughter ban: The Karnataka government will enforce a ban on cow slaughter strictly by amending a 1964 act to prohibit the sale and consumption of beef, Home Minister V.S. Acharya said Wednesday. .... Read Full

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Leader of opposition in Delhi Assembly BJP 's VK Malhotra and Congress Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit have demonstrated the real colours of the rulers of the ‘modern and democratic’ country. The leaders, irrespective of the political affiliation, happen to be worshipping sacred cows to remain sacred!

Malhotra created a ruckus over the plans to serve quality beef that will be imported to athletes and officials during the ensuing Commonwealth Games. He strongly objected to a statement by Chief Secretary Rakesh Mehta to this effect. Dixit obfuscated the issue raised by her ‘communal’ rival only to prove her own prejudice.

Sheila Dixit said, “The MCD is supposed to give permission to the caterer and the Organizing Committee will select the caterer.” At this, Malhotra thundered, “How could the Chief Minister shy away from enforcement of the legislation passed unanimously by the Assembly?” He pointed out that legislation was passed in 1994 under which storage and sale of beef is prohibited in the national capital.

It is interesting to note that Mehta, Dixit and Malhotra all happen to be high-bred pundits, committed more to the welfare of the ‘sacred’ animal than to downtrodden human beings! They are blind to the fact that ridiculous laws on cow slaughter must be scrapped if India wants to join the league of nations hosting prestigious events.

Interestingly, the drama in the Delhi Assembly comes close on the heels of reintroduction of the controversial Karnataka Cow Slaughter Prevention Bill 2010 by the Karnataka government in the assembly. The move to add sting to Animal Sacrifice Prevention Bill 1964 makes transportation and slaughter of cows (cows, calves, he and she buffalo and bull) a cognizable offence and stipulates stringent punishment to offenders.

The move had been dropped only a week earlier in the face of vehement protest from the public – particularly Christians, Muslims, and Dalits. Some students in Bangalore University cooked beef on the campus to register their protest against the proposed legislation.

Home minister VS Acharya of the BJP government gave no reasons for the flip flop. Congress legislators stealthily abetted the BJP government by letting it pass the resolution by voice vote.

These laws exist in most States to implement bone-brained provisions in the anti-people constitution. The so called founding fathers of the statute hailed from self-appointed high-caste pundits of the medieval society. It reflects their social customs and rabid fads and decrees that some 5 billion people in the world who eat beef to be cannibals!

The statute authorizes the State to rob individuals of the 'democratic nation' of their personal liberty in choice of food/drink. Nine other states have completely banned cow slaughter. The attitude of these governments motivates hooligans to stop in National Highways even refrigerated trucks that carry meat for export. Opening the consignment in the guise of checking by the authorities whether it is beef or meat would render it unfit for export. The truckers shell out huge ransoms to ruffians to avoid the loss.

Moreover, the worthies are being cruel to the poor cow that they worship. It is worth noting that according to official estimates, 30,000 abattoirs operate illegally in the country against 3600 licensed ones. Actual figure would be much more and they fatten the purse of unscrupulous authorities supposed to implement the ban. Due to their existence, transportation of cows for slaughter cannot just be wished away. If transportation itself is supposed to break the law, necessitating bribes to minions of the State, no wonder the transporter cuts corners that inflict cruelty to the cargo.

Apart from the poor animals, victims of the ludicrous law are the poor farmer who is prevented from disposing off unproductive cattle and obtaining a fair price. Most of them are condemned as Sudras and are made to pay to stoke the well-to-do pundits' moral fancy. Of course, nobody objects the pundits from revering the cow. But, when they enact laws to ban consumption of beef, meat, pork, fish or eggs, they will only invite rejection by people and ridicule from the world.

A detailed look at the constitutional provision shows on cow slaughter would reveal another area in which a microscopic minority succeeded in its conspiracy to suppress the masses. The ban on cow slaughter is an affront particularly to Muslims whose religious rituals call for slaughter of animals on specific occasions. More importantly, it is of note that most of the leather processing units of India are operated by Muslims and the law is a handle to harass them with charges of violating its provisions. Persistent harassment has ruined the economic prosperity of the industry.

Tragically, the leadership of the community is too jittery to raise its voice against the farce. It is time to mount an effective struggle to dump these laws that infringe on personal liberty.




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