Cautioning against a recent Gazette Notification by the Government of India imposing restrictions on cattle trade, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that decision seriously impacts the livelihoods of millions of Indians.
The Kerala Chief Minister on Saturday wrote to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking him to repeal the rules.
Pinarayi said that it was wrong on the Centre's part to have made such a rule without consulting states.
On the criteria that cattle can be traded only by those who have valid documentation and that the cattle bought will be used only for agricultural purposes, Pinarayi said:
"Of the millions of farmers in our country, only a miniscule number of them have documentation to prove that they are engaged in agriculture. Therefore, it would be extremely difficult for the vast majority of our farmers to legally procure draught animals used for agriculture and other domestic purposes."
The Kerala CM also expressed concerns over the constitution of District Animal Market Monitoring Committees and an Animal Market Committees. "The constitution of such committees to monitor cattle trade will also jeopardise the free hand trade of cattle between farmers in the country," Pinarayi argued.
"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," Pinarayi wrote in the 2-page letter.
Pointing out that the Centre had brought out the notification on the eve of Ramzan, Pinarayi said that the Centre's move would be seen by certain communities as "a direct attack on them."
Other highlights from the letter:
"Meat is the primary source of protein for millions of poor and ordinary people in this country, particularly the Dalits. Such restrictions being imposed on the eve of Ramzan, would certainly appear to certain communities of our country as a direct attack on them. People of all faiths consume meat in our country, not just the minorities. Once the prohibition comes into effect, it will not only deprive them of adequate nutrition, but also prevent the availability of raw material for the leather industry. More than 2.5 million people work in India‚Äôs leather industry and most of them are Dalits, especially those engaged in skinning the carcasses."
"The prohibition of sale of cattle for slaughter will have a cascading effect on Indian meat exporting industry as a whole, especially because of an insurmountable deficiency that will occur in our foreign exchange because of the drop in meat export. Several state owned meat processing industries across the country, like Kerala‚Äôs Meat Products of India Ltd., would become unviable because of the new regulations and hence would be forced to shut down."
"The new rules should have been introduced in consultation with the states. 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."