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Meghalaya wants Centre to axe rule on cattle trade for slaughter

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By IANS Updated: Jun 12, 2017 10:14 pm
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Shillong, June 12 (IANS): Cutting across party lines, the Meghalaya Assembly on Monday adopted a resolution urging the central government to withdraw the new rule on cattle trade for slaughter so as to maintain the constitution’s federal and secular character.

Though opposition members supported the resolution, they asked the Mukul Sangma-led Congress government what would be the next step if the Centre does not act on the resolution.

Chief Minister Sangma, who moved the resolution, said the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017 suffered from major shortcomings and infirmities and would have an adverse impact on Meghalaya’s economy and culture.

“Cattle meat is an integral part of the dietary habits of the tribal populace of Meghalaya since it is rich in minerals and is one of the cheap sources of protein, especially for the economically weaker section of the tribal society,” Sangma said.

He said the new rules was a major embargo that was crippling the economy of a predominantly tribal society.

“The prohibition on sale and purchase of cattle for the purpose of slaughter will not only affect the livelihood of over 5.7 lakh households, i.e. 79 percent of households, involved in cattle rearing but will also affect the right of people to have a diet of their choice and to celebrate the religious, cultural and social ceremonies in practice since times immemorial,” the Congress leader said.

“We fully support the intent of the Act to prevent infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering on animals,” he added.

Sangma said that the new rules would severely hamper the socio-economic, cultural and religious rights of the people of the state.

“We will not accept this kind of imposition which goes beyond the provision of the Constitution and the present rules has been designed to affect the northeastern states more knowing fully well that the culture and the way of the life of the people of the region is invariably linked with cattle and its consumption of its meat,” he said.

Supporting the resolution, Hill State People’s Democratic Party legislator Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit described the new rule on cattle trade and slaughter as a virtual move to ban cow slaughter in the country.

Urging the government to take this resolution to its logical end, United Democratic Party legislator Paul Lyngdoh said: “We should not restrict ourselves only to the question of ban of slaughter of cattle. The larger issue is how this will impact the federal fabric.”

However, National People’s Party legislator James Sangma felt there was no need to push the panic button since the rule notified by the Central government was a state subject.

“It will not stand in a court of law as it will be immediately struck down if anyone decides to approach the court,” he said.

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By IANS Updated: Jun 12, 2017 10:14:13 pm