Beef lovers in Maharashtra will now have to do without the red meat as President Pranab Mukherjee has given his assent to the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Bill, 1995, nearly 19 years after the Maharashtra Assembly passed the Bill during the BJP-Shiv Sena rule in 1995.
The slaughter of cows was previously prohibited in the state under the Maharashtra Animal Preservation Act of 1976. However, the passage of the new Act will ban the slaughter of bulls as well as bullocks, which was previously allowed based on a fit-for-slaughter certificate.
Cow slaughter has been banned in Maharashtra since 1976. The new act bans slaughter of bulls and bullocks. Nearly 1,000 licensed shops are likely to be affected in Mumbai with this decision. Traders feel that the ban will lead to black marketing
It’s also a huge setback for the Qureshi caste which controls Mumbai’s beef trade. While a representation has already been made before the minorities commission, the traders are planning to protest after seeking legal opinion.
“This ban is not welcome. Thousands of people will be affected. Our livelihoods will be hit,” trader Mohommad Ali Qureishi said.
The ban has created a furore online with even bollywood celebrities leading the charge and questioning the move. Bollywood celebrities including Farhan Akhtar, Ayushmann Khurrana and Richa Chadha also slammed the ban on beef in Maharashtra, saying it is a ‘violation of human rights’.
“#BeefBan is a violation of human rights. The govt cannot dictate what I eat. Seems like the ‘democratic’ constitution of India does not guarantee diversity. #BeefBan is a sad reflection of that,” tweeted director Onir.
Farhan tweeted, “So now in Maharashtra you can have a beef with someone but you can’t have beef with someone.” Director Shirish Kunder joked, “Do not be surprised if the cows are given voting rights in the next election. #BeefBan.”
“Beef faal baad! #kaminey,” Ayushmann Khurrana said taking a cue from Vishal Bhardwaj’s film “Kaminey”, where the lead used to pronounce ‘s’ as ‘f’.
According to the beef traders, the Maharashtra government did not take them into confidence before the decision was made, It’s a unilateral decision which has been given a religious colour but it remains to be seen whether it is going to be a full blown confrontation with the government or will the traders will be compelled to take a step back.