|Plea for slaughter of foreign-origin cows|
Mumbai, April 24 (Reuters): Battling a beef ban that has threatened their livelihoods, Muslim traders in India are seeking permission to slaughter foreign-origin Jersey cows that they think will not be as sacred to the Hindus as locally bred cattle. A tough new law in Maharashtra against cow slaughter, which extends the ban to bulls and bullocks and also outlaws consumption or possession of beef bought outside the state, has triggered an uproar and also been challenged in court. India is the world’s largest beef exporter and fifth biggest consumer, with the trade dominated by the minority Muslim community.
The All India Milli Council, a platform for Muslims in the country, now says it supports the beef ban but would like the government to find them alternatives. They hope Jerseys, a dairy cow originally bred in the Channel Island of Jersey, could be an option. “We demand the government to allow us to kill Jersey cows, which are of foreign origin and religious sentiments are not attached to them,” said M.A. Khalid, general secretary of the council’s unit in Maharashtra, the state that is home to India’s largest abattoir in Deonar. Today, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis shot down the idea of allowing the killing of Jersey cows. “There are no exceptions,” he said. Since the February ban in Maharashtra, slaughtering of big cattle in Deonar has nearly halved to 200-250 animals, mostly buffalo. Several workers have been left jobless and Fadnavis said his government was considering a rehabilitation plan for the worst affected Qureshi community. He gave no details. Hindu groups are working on the well-being of cattle that are likely to be stranded because of the beef ban. Vyankatesh Abdeo, the all India secretary of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, said they would protect any breed of cow and increase the number of cow shelters in the state by eight times to 5,000 this year. “Every cow is sacred to us regardless of its breed,” Abdeo said.