NEW DELHI: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan today shot off a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying imposing restrictions on cattle trade will affect the country's secular ethos and millions of livelihoods.
Vijayan also said that such restrictions in a hasty manner will prove to be a "challenge in upholding the plurality" which was the essence of the nation. "... kindly intervene in this matter and repeal the newly-imposed restrictions, so that the lives and livelihoods of millions of our fellow countrymen can be protected, while safeguarding the fundamental principles of our Constitution," Vijayan said in his letter.
Centre had yesterday banned the sale and purchase of cattle from animal markets for slaughter through an environment ministry notification -- 'Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017' under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
The chief minister in his letter, which was shared on his official Facebook page, also pointed out to the prime minister that it will be difficult for the vast majority of farmers to "legally procure" draught animals used for agriculture and other domestic purposes. He also said that the new rules should have been introduced in consultation with the state governments because non-vegetarians outnumber vegetarians in states like Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Odisha and West Bengal.
"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 states 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 added.
He also said that constitution of District Animal Market Monitoring Committees and Animal Market Committees will jeopardise the free hand trade of cattle between farmers. "Legitimate fears are also being raised if they would take upon themselves the role of Gau Rakshak Samitis which have conducted attacks on cattle traders and transporters in the recent past," he added.
Vijayan also shared the concern of the various state- owned meat processing industries across the country, like Kerala's Meat Products of India Limited and said they would become unviable because of the new regulations and hence would be forced to shut down.