Maharashtra ban on bull slaughter will hit economy

siddiwui-webIndia is world’s second largest democracy and we Indians are proud of it wherever we are. But is our democracy working on constitutional guidelines or going, “Do it as you like it” way for the whims and thoughts of the few in power?

Democracy means a responsible government system elected by people working for the welfare of people. The rulers are not permanently in power but are given a chance to do better than the predecessors. They cannot, however impose laws affecting even the smallest section of society. Choice of lifestyle by citizens is the gift of democracy.

The government of Maharashtra has imposed a ban on slaughter of bulls and bullocks in the state. The decision has rendered thousands of people jobless. It has also deprived Muslims, Christians, Dalits and many others the cheapest meat they can afford for their daily protein healthy diet.

It is surprising why the government of Maharashtra has imposed this new bill when the law for the slaughter of cows was already in force under the Maharashtra Animal Preservation Act of 1976.

The passage of the new Act will now ban the slaughter of bulls as well as bullocks. The slaughter of bulls and bullocks was previously allowed based on a fit-for-slaughter certificate. The earlier ban on slaughter of cow was respected in general in view of the religious sentiments of Hindus. But why the ban on beef? It is a diet of millions of people in the state. Hundreds and thousands of traders are making their living on beef trade in the State.

Did the government study the consequences of this ban? While it will render thousands of people jobless it will also affect the state economy. Now the traders will push their animals to neighboring states for sale.

Also, the government has banned slaughter for beef, it cannot put a ban on eating of beef. Soon big department stores will distribute packed beef imported from other states. The Maharashtra Government will not be able to legally stop transport of packed beef from other states in major cities as beef is not contraband. And now who will benefit?

Of course the neighboring states. The other states will take the animals from Maharashtra and do a brisk business of exporting packed beef to Maharashtra because the law puts a ban on slaughter of bulls and bullocks in the state, it does not specify a ban on eating of beef in the state. The ban on beef will also affect middle class families who prefer lamb or goat meats including majority of Hindus.

The prices of lamb and goat meat, chicken, fish and vegetable will soon start going up. After all people have to eat something. The shortfall of beef as a food item in state has to be replenished by other food items or vegetables. The hotel menus for non-vegetarian dishes will be revised shortly.

This is a common man’s concern. Why is the opposition silent when a decision to please a section of society is made and which will affect the daily life of other sections of the same society. Fortunately, democracy still permits knocking the higher echelons of legal institutions. The beef traders are turning to the Supreme Court for stopping the state law.

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A.Q. Siddiqui

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