Ruling LDF and opposition UDF in Kerala joined hands in the assembly today to resist the Centre’s ban on the sale of cattle for slaughter in the animal market and termed it as “fascist” move. During the one-day session, called exclusively to discuss the cattle ban notification, members of ruling CPI(M)-led LDF and Congress-headed UDF opposition-held that it was not only an “intrusion” into state’s rights but also an “infringement” on the rights of people on the choice of their food habits.
The House also passed a resolution asking the Centre to withdraw the notification, which saw the lone BJP MLA, O Rajagopal, dissenting.Attack on CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury at A K G Centre in New Delhi yesterday also had its echo in the assembly in Kerala with the party members alleging that Sangh Parivar was trying to “silence” political rivals through “muscle power”.
The members of both the fronts said the ban on the sale of cattle for slaughter in the animal market was not only communal but also essentially anti-working class and anti-farmer. It thus has to be withdrawn, they said. They also alleged that the move was an attempt at corporatisation of the meat-trading sector, which was now an additional source of income for small and medium farmers.
Rajagopal said the coming together of LDF and UDF in the assembly was a sign of a “grand alliance” forming at the national level to take on BJP. He said the House has been “misused” for political purposes as the Centre has already made it clear that it was ready to make changes in the notification after getting suggestions from states.
Moving the resolution Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan slammed the Centre, saying the ban was to implement the political agenda of Sangh Parivar.
“The NDA government, that has failed to fulfil any of its promises, was raking up issues such as cattle slaughter to divide the people through communal polarisation for political gains,” he said. Vijayan also brought to the notice of the assembly the serious ‘adverse’ consequences the ban would have on various sectors including agriculture, dairy, leather industry and meat export trade.
“The notification is impractical in Kerala where 95 percent of the population is non-vegetarian. It is clearly an intrusion into the citizens choice of food,” he said. On the impact on state’s meat trade, Vijayan said every year 2.5 lakh tonnes of meat worth Rs 6,552 crore was sold in Kerala annually. Vijayan also mentioned about the farmers unrest in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra and said the community was already in crisis and the new decision would further add to their woes.