New Delhi, June 1: The CPI-M has urged the Modi government to immediately withdraw the "obnoxious" new cattle rules which it said were "a vicious attack on the right of choice of food and the livelihood of millions" of people.
An editorial in the CPI-M journal "People's Democracy" said the May 25 amendment to the rules under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act would affect millions of farmers, cattle traders and butchers.
As per this notification called Regulation on Livestock Markets Rules, 2017, a ban has been imposed on the sale of cattle for slaughter all across India. Cattle is defined as bulls, cows, bullocks, buffaloes, steers, heifers, calves and camels.
Farmers who now take cattle to a cattle market for sale for slaughter will be liable for prosecution. By including buffaloes, their slaughter is also being illegalized, which is not against the law in most states, the editorial pointed out.
"Through this blanket ban on the sale of cattle for slaughter, the Hindutvawadis want to stop a large section of people, particularly minorities and Dalits, from eating beef, which is a cheap source of protein and nutrition," it said.
The editorial said the farmers would be the worst hit.
"They will be unable to sell their unproductive cows, buffaloes or bullocks in the market. This will deprive them of the much needed money to buy new animals and will also compel them to abandon their old cattle which will become strays.
"The beef-export industry worth Rs 26,685 crore will be badly hit, so also, the leather industry."
The Communist Party of India-Marxist said that by smuggling in these rules under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, the central government had encroached on the powers of the states.
"This latest onslaught on food choice of citizens comes in the background of the systematic efforts being made to ban beef including buffalo meat, unleash cow vigilantes on minorities and those engaged in cattle trade. What cannot be done, i.e. ban on slaughter of cattle legally at the national level, is sought to be done now in a surreptitious manner," it added.
"The Modi government should immediately withdraw the obnoxious parts of the notification." the editorial said.