The past week has been busy with numerous celebrations and an equal number of protests across the country.
The elected governments of the southern states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, among others, completed one year of rule and the union government completed three years since its landslide victory in 2014. While Tamil Nadu has been silent on the whole celebrations aspect owing to a year of mourning for its former chief minister J Jayalalithaa, Kerala has been celebrating the successful completion of one year by its Left Democratic Front government headed by Pinarayi Vijayan.
While the central government is conducting heavy campaigns to mark the completion of three years, there are voices from many directions calling out the apparent failure of the government in the areas of job creation, which was, in fact, one of the electoral promises of the BJP.
Moving on, the hot topic over the past few days has been the ‘beef ban‘. Many people think it to be a move targeting Muslims, now that the festival of Ramzan is round the corner. The notification, in fact, speaks about the ban on the sale of cattle for slaughter in animal markets, with the terms ‘cattle’, ‘animal market’, etc. clearly defined in the notification.
The notification also states that people selling cattle in animal markets are to give a declaration stating that the cattle sold is to be used for agricultural purposes and not for slaughter.
It is a known fact that many states in India consume beef as food and they have not taken this action by the ministry in a good way. There have been mass protests across the country with states refusing to comply with the order because this is a topic that comes under the State list and the Centre has no right to interfere in governing these aspects.
Recently, the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court also stayed the ban consequent to a public interest litigation. Surprisingly, the Kerala High Court expressed its opinion on the entire topic saying that the notification does not ban the slaughter of cattle in its entirety. A basic reading of the notification would indicate that the ban is on the sale of cattle for slaughter in animal markets only and nowhere else. The High Court also opined that there seems to be no ban whatsoever on the sale of cattle for slaughter outside animal markets, that is from homes and other places.
This seems to be a diversionary tactic employed by the BJP to distract people from attacking its three-year completion celebrations. It is also very evident that the ban has been imposed to garner the faith and loyalty of the Hindu majority in the nation, thereby warming up for the 2019 elections.
While this is something all governments do, any attempt in policing what the people eat or drink is not a good sign of governance. There are much more pressing issues in the nation and all that we are provided with is a ban on one of our favourite dishes. This was a totally uncalled for move, and also it might hit the BJP in all the wrong places on its planning for the next election campaign.
Two more years to go to deliver on the poll promises and they don’t seem to be anywhere close to fulfilling all of them by 2019.