Kochi: In a rare convergence, Kerala's ruling Congress-led UDF and CPI-M headed LDF opposition, at loggerheads on several issues, have come out against the NDA Government's move to impose a nation-wide ban on cow slaughter and beef, dubbing it as an encroachment on personal liberty.
Some BJP leaders in Kerala, one of the largest beef consuming states in the country, have sought to justify the Narendra Modi Government's move by citing environment and health grounds.
Leaders of the Congress and the CPI (M) have come down heavily on the Centre on the issue, terming it as a "sign of increasing encroachment of personal liberty and democratic freedom".
The Prime Minister's Office has recently sought Law Ministry's opinion on whether the Centre could circulate the laws on cow slaughter as enacted by some states, including Gujarat, as model bill among other states for their consideration for similar legislations there.
KPCC General Secretary and MLA P C Vishnunath said Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has already announced in the state Assembly that the Union Government's push for a ban on cow slaughter will not be implemented in the state.
"This is a political campaign of the Sangh Parivar. The people of Kerala reject outrightly the BJP's move to impose this kind of fascist agenda on them," Vishnunath told PTI.
M B Rajesh, All-India President of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), the youth wing of the CPI (M), said the BJP government was trying to communalise even the food habits of the people of the country. He said a ban on beef will deprive people a source of food which is relatively cheaper.
"This is a political move by the Fascist forces. The communal forces are trying to politicise even the food habits of the people of the country. We appeal to all democratic organisations to come forward to fight against this draconian move," Rajesh, an MP and CPI-M state committee member, said.
The DYFI headed by Rajesh organised a state-wide "beef
festival" by freely distributing steamed tapioca and beef curry to the people to protest the Centre's move to follow footsteps of the Maharashtra Government, which has imposed ban on sale and consumption of beef.
Both Rajesh and Vishnunath claimed the move by the Centre has not gone down well with some of the leaders and members of the BJP in the state who relish beef curry or fry with their meals. They said such BJP leaders are "confused" over the national leadership's move to impose their "dictum" on them.
Perhaps, Kerala is the only state in the country to openly come against the move.
BJP National Executive Member Sobha Surendran, however, justified the Centre's move arguing that the effort was to ensure green growth by protecting cows which give milk, gobar (cow dung) and gaumutra (cow urine).
She quoted a noted American doctor Neil Bernard, who said that the beef industry has contributed to more American deaths than all the wars, all natural disasters, and all automobile accidents combined in that country to justify the Modi government's move.
"Beef is an unhealthy food. Consumption of beef is one of the major reasons for 'deadly health problems' of Keralites. You can see a plenty of cases of cancer and heart-related problems among those consuming beef in the state," she claimed.
She also said protection of cow which gives milk, gobar (cow dung) and gaumutra (cow urine) is a must to ensure sustainable growth and fight global warming.