Shillong, June 15: It is clear that the people of Northeast India have not digested the Centre's latest ruling on "beef ban" well. From Meghalaya, Nagaland to Mizoram, people on a daily basis are coming out in the open to protest against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party's latest attack on "dietary habits" of millions of Indians.
A massive protest was staged at Williamnagar in East Garo Hills, Meghalaya, on Wednesday, against the Centre for its "attempt to ban beef" with the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017, which forbids sale of cattle in markets for slaughter. The protest which saw more than 2,000 participants was led by the ruling Congress leaders.
The Centre's latest notification on cattle sale and slaughter has been opposed tooth and nail by several BJP leaders in Meghalaya in the recent past. Many BJP leaders of Meghalaya have also resigned from the party citing that the government should not interfere in the food habits of people.
On Monday, the Meghalaya Assembly had unanimously passed a resolution opposing the notification. Thus, the beef ban has turned out to be a major political issue in the state ahead of the 2018 assembly elections.
The BJP is hoping to gain handsomely in the upcoming elections in the state after it achieved success in Assam and Manipur assembly polls.
In neighbouring Nagaland, the ruling Naga People's Front, an ally of the BJP, on Wednesday said it was against any restriction on the dietary habits of people of the state.
The NPF, without mentioning the Centre's May 23 notification, formally took the decision against the regulation during a meeting of its central executive council in Kohima.
After Meghalaya, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland has made its opposition clear through the NPF resolution.
The NPF resolution has urged the Shürhozelie Liezietsu-led government to take up the issue with the Centre and to desist from "imposing restrictions" on the dietary habits and culinary preferences of the Naga people.
Recently, Aizawl, the capital city of Mizoram, hosted a big beef festival as a mark of protest on the day Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh visited the state.