Indian President Pranab Mukherjee approved the Maharashtra Animal Preservation bill, which strictly bans the slaughter of cows, bulls and bullocks along with the sale, consumption or even possession of beef in the state of Maharashtra.
India's Hindu majority reveres cows and several states already restrict the sale or consumption of beef but this is the toughest ban so far.
For Hindus, the cow is a sacred animal. Hurting, slaughtering and eating its meat is deeply sacrilegious. For Muslims, there is no such restriction – in fact they are rather fond of consuming beef. The difference has always created rifts between the two religious groups.
Ironically, India is the second largest beef exporter in the world and the industry is predominantly run by Muslim traders.
However, it was in 1995 that the bill to prohibit the slaughtering and consuming beef was presented. It has lain dormant since and only came back to life, so to speak, when the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party came to power last year.
Recently the rift has often evolved in clashes where Hindu nationalists in India have even attacked the beef industry, seizing trucks with cattle and blockading meat processing plants.
Needless to say, the Muslims are incensed, but the drastic new bill is not sitting to well with a fair share of Hindus as well.
Um. Last I heard India was secular. What happened? #BeefBan— Maleficent (@LifeofSigh) March 3, 2015
India #BeefBan. Because it should be safer to be a cow than be a woman in a country representing 17% of our species today.— Hari (@__Hari__) March 3, 2015
Very sad that we are becoming such a rigid society #BeefBan— Onir (@IamOnir) March 3, 2015
We speak of equality. Yet we establish inequality - women must behave in a particular way, people cannot eat beef, gays cannot exist. #India— Anirudh Deep (@deepanirudh) March 4, 2015
Maharashtra CM seems to me a complete nincompoop. Power shortage is far serious problem in state right now n look at his priorities #BeefBan— Junaid Ahmad (@junaid_ar) March 3, 2015
Of course, not everyone is taking it so seriously:
It is yet to be seen when and to what an extent the bill will be implemented.
You May Also Find This Interesting: It’s Not A “Halal Meat” Problem: New Video Of Animal Abuse At U.K. Abattoir Emerges