Major political parties and social and community organisations will take out a procession here on Tuesday along with bulls and bullocks to protest the ban on beef in Maharashtra, an organiser said on Saturday.
“People connected with the beef industry, including farmers, shall walk with the symbolic presence of some bulls and bullocks from Byculla to Azad Maidan demanding lifting of the ban on beef,” said Vijay Dalvi, secretary of the Mutton Butchers Union Sarvashramik Sangh.
The procession will be led by Republican Sena president Anandraj Ambedkar.
Republican Party of India city chief Gautam Sonawane, Congress leader Naseem Khan, Nationalist Congress Party leaders Jitendra Awhad and Sachin Ahir, and leaders of CITU, CPI, CPI-M, Lal Nishan Party and several other unions, social and community groups will take part in the march.
Dalvi said that presently, the beef ban has directly hit over 800,000 people engaged in the industry, besides many more in allied industries like leather products, beef packaging and processing plants.
“Besides, the prices of other non-vegetarian products like chicken, mutton and fish are increasing, making it difficult for all sections of people, including non-beef consumers.
“Presently, barely a few dozen buffaloes which yield the inferior quality carabeef are being slaughtered, but it cannot cater to the huge demand for beef,” Dalvi said.
Refering to the recent demand from some quarters on slaughter of Jersey cows, which Hindus do not consider as holy, Dalvi said they were opposed to slaughter of any cow breed, whether Indian, or foreign.
However, they were open to slaughter of Jersey bulls or bullocks and urged the state government to consider it.
In April, a Bombay High Court division bench comprising Justice V.M. Kanade and Justice M.S. Sonak declined to suspend certain provisions of the recent law banning beef consumption, possession or transportation even if the animal was slaughtered outside Maharashtra.
The court was hearing three PILs challenging the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act’s Section 5(d) and 9(a), which prohibit possession, transportation and consumption, and the petitioners contended that this even bans transportation of beef from other states and sought an injunction on these sections.
The high court directed the state not to initiate any coercive action against traders found possessing or transporting beef till the pendency of the petition, or for three months, whichever is earlier, though FIRs can be lodged.
Adopting a lenient view, the judges observed that the Act was introduced suddenly and the traders did not have reasonable time to dispose off their stocks.
The court also urged the state not to intrude on citizens’ privacy if they were found in possession of beef in any form, but declined a blanket ban on the provisions of the new act.
In March, President Pranab Mukherjee granted assent to the bill banning the sale or possession of beef in the state with stringent penalties.
The slaughter of cows had already been prohibited in the state under the Maharashtra Animal Preservation Act, 1976. The new Act goes a step further by banning slaughter of bulls and bullocks, which was previously permitted on a fit-for-slaughter certificate.
Under the new Act, only slaughter of water buffaloes, which yields carabeef, considered an inferior quality meat, has been allowed.