Of Laws, Cows and People’s Mutinies: Will the beef ban in BJP-ruled states fuel a new Mutiny? by Cynthia Stephen (Round Table India)
“The Gau-Vansh Vadh Pratishedh (Sanshodhan) Vidheyak (Prohibition of slaughter of cow-progeny Bill) just passed in Madhya Pradesh empowers the government to prosecute any person found slaughtering a cow or even transporting the calf for the purpose of slaughter. [...]
“In March 2010, the Karnataka assembly passed the The Karnataka Prevention of Cow Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill 2010 by voice vote after uproarious scenes, and a four-hour acrimonious debate. [...] According to the Deccan Herald, the bill prohibits slaughter of cattle, sale, usage and possession of beef, puts restriction on transport of cattle and also prohibits sale, purchase or disposal of cattle for slaughter.
“The BJP governments in Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh may have brought these laws with the intention of putting pressure on the lifestyle and livelihoods of the minorities. But are these bills acts of political bravado on the part of the BJP? According to the Economic Times, 6th Jan 2012, beef is the most popularly consumed meat in India – 26 lakh tons annually. In comparison, only 6 lakh tons of mutton and 14 lakh tons of pork were consumed in India. The article quotes the US Food and Drug Administration, saying India is in fact the third largest exporter of beef in the world, exporting as much as 1.28 million tons of it!
“In Madhya Pradesh, in particular, there is a large population of tribals - 13 million - for whom beef constitutes a staple. In Karnataka as well, large sections of the state's population will be affected directly once the bill passes into law, including farmers, milk producers, leather workers, most of whom are Dalits and Muslims, and of course the common man. [...]
“James, a young Dalit Activist, is more graphic. ‘You (upper castes) take the best of the cow - its labour, its milk, its offspring, and sell it after you have no use for it. When we find ways to use this resource, you attack us and even kill us (referring to the killing of 5 Dalits in Jhajjar, Haryana, in 2008, who were skinning the carcass of a cow after purchasing it). You are taking our livelihoods from us, even though we make it out of the waste you discard. Is this justice?’
“‘This law will take away food from the poor who cannot afford to buy chicken or mutton’, says another Dalit activist. ‘The cost of mutton, already high, will go up to one thousand rupees’, said Siddaramaiah, leader of the Opposition, during the Assembly debate. ‘Thus you will be thrusting vegetarianism on the people. This is only possible in Hitler's regime. Is yours a Hitler's regime?’”
Cow Dung Blocks Nuclear Radiation (and Why We Don’t Eat Horses) by Eric Randolph (Kikobor, January 12, 2012):
“An article in The Hindu newspaper yesterday made a pointed comparison to the condition of people in Madhya Pradesh, which has the country’s highest rate of infant mortality and lowest rate of literacy. [...]
“The law has come into force a decade after riots in the state that erupted when Hindu nationalists took to the streets over reports Muslims were secretly killing cows. The riots helped bring the BJP to power in Madhya Pradesh a year later, in 2003.
“The BJP’s campaign against cow slaughter is seen by some analysts as part of its ongoing attempt to create a pan-Indian nationalism out of the myriad identities that exist in India.
“‘Outside a small section of modernised Indians, many still think of themselves not as Hindus, but in terms of caste, language and sect,’ said Ashis Nandy, a leading social theorist with the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies in New Delhi.
“Promoting a ban on cow slaughter, he said, ‘is an attempt to steamroll these other forms of identity and have people think of themselves purely as “Hindus”. It is a cynical attempt to consolidate political support.’”
Bajrang vigilantes cry cow-slaughter, beat, humiliate Muslim trader (Indian Express, January 7, 2012):
“A Muslim cattle trader’s son was beaten and part of his head, one eyebrow and half his moustache shaved off by alleged Bajrang Dal workers in Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh after he refused to give them money to allow him to ferry cattle which the attackers alleged were meant for slaughter.
“Police rescued the 25-year-old victim, Anish Aslam Kureshi, but charged him with unlawfully transporting cattle for slaughter under a state law for preserving cattle, and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. A sessions court in Chhindwara ordered his release on bail today.
“His attackers, whom the police identified as Bajrang Dal workers, were also arrested, but were charged with minor offences. They were released almost immediately by the Bichhua police station.
“On December 22, a tough new Madhya Pradesh anti-cow slaughter law providing for seven years in jail for eating beef, empowering police to carry out raids on mere suspicion, and putting the burden of proving innocence on the accused received presidential assent.”