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Kerala’s legislative Assembly passed a resolution against the central government notification of May 23 restricting sale of cattle for slaughter.
The Left Democratic Front (LDF)-run government convened a special session of the Assembly — it began after a breakfast that included beef fry. After a day-long discussion, the resolution asking the Centre to withdraw the notification was voted on. The Congress-led United Democratic Front Opposition voted for the motion. The only vote for was from the Bharatiya Janata Party’s O Rajagopal.
The parties said the ban was a “fascist” move. Former chief minister V S Achuthanandan, who initiated the discussion, said the notification was a national tragedy, aimed at setting the ground for monopolising of cattle trade for corporate major Ambani.
The ruling and Opposition parties alleged the Centre's move would hit the growth of agriculture, industry and labour, and the powers of states under the Constitution of India.
Moving the resolution, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the ban was to implement the political agenda of the ‘Sangh Parivar’. He said the state would implead itself in the case pending on the issue at the Supreme Court. He described the notification as another “surgical strike” like the note ban of the Narendra Modi government. Ramesh Chennithala, Opposition leader of the Assembly, said it was “a sign of arrival of fascism” in the country.
“Modi has transformed himself into a neo-Hitler,” he alleged.
Vijayan said: “The notification is impractical in Kerala, where 95 per cent of the population is non-vegetarian. It is clearly an intrusion into citizens’ choice of food.”
The state government says 250,000 tonnes of meat worth ~6,550 crore is sold in Kerala annually.
BJP leader Rajagopal said convening of the special session was a misuse of the Assembly, to target the Centre. He said it marked the launch of a larger alliance of parties comprising both fronts against the BJP and the Centre.
Kerala has several animal slaughter houses. A company named Meat Products of India has set up the country's largest meat processing unit, at Ernakulam, with central government funding. The facility can handle around 6,000 cattle a month but with the new regulations, bringing cattle from either other states or from farmers for slaughter is not allowed.
There are 34 slaughter houses licensed by local bodies or run by the state. This will also affect livestock over a period of time. No farmer will maintain cattle if they cannot sell it, said V S Sunil Kumar, minister for agriculture.