THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to repeal the restrictions imposed on the sale of cattle for slaughter to protect the lives and livelihoods of millions of people in the country. In a letter to the Prime Minister, he said the new rules should have been introduced in consultation with the states. “The absence of efforts to take the states into confidence on such a drastic move with far reaching consequences is detrimental to our democracy. I am afraid it amounts to an intrusion into the rights of the sates in our federal structure. The introduction of such restrictions in a hasty manner would certainly prove to be a challenge in upholding our plurality, the essence of our nation. It would also be against the principles of secularism and federalism enshrined in our constitution,” he said.
The Chief Minister said in Kerala vast majority of the population consumed meat. So was the case with the other South Indian states and North East Indian states. Even states like Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Odisha and West Bengal non vegetarians outnumbered vegetarians. He reminded the Prime Minister that meat was the primary source of protein for millions of poor and ordinary people in this country, particularly Dalits. “Such restrictions being imposed on the eve of Ramzan would appear to certain communities of our country as direct attack on them,” he said. “People of all faiths consume meat in our country not just the minorities. Once the prohibition comes into effect it will not only deprive them of adequate nutrition, but also prevent the availability of raw material for the leather industry. More than 2.5 people work in India's leather industry and most them are dalits especially those engaged in skinning the carcasses," he said and added that the prohibition would severely affect our disadvantaged sections in terms of both their lives and livelihood.
He said legitimate fears were also being raised if they took upon themselves the role of gaurakshak samitis which had conducted attacks on cattle traders and transporters in the recent past. The Chief Minister said the rules also envisaged the constitution of district animal market monitoring committee and Animal Market Committees. Such committees to monitor cattle trade would jeopardise the free hand trade of cattle between farmers in our country. "I am sure you are aware that India has a thriving meat export industry and that we are the global leaders in the field. The prohibition of sale of cattle for slaughter will have a cascading effect on Indian industry as a whole , especially because of an insurmountable deficiency that will occur in our foreign exchange because of the drop in meat export," he said. The Chief Minister said several state owned meat processing industries across the country like Kerala's Meat Products of India Ltd would become unviable because of the new regulations and hence would be forced to shut down.