New Delhi: A Trinamool Congress member in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday expressed concern over Maharashtra government banning consumption of beef, saying the ban would not only have an economic impact but the punishment for eating the meat has become more than that for sexual harassment.
Raising the issue during Zero hour, Derek O'Brien (TMC) said the issue should not be looked through the "religious prism" as lot of people besides minorities, including Dalits and those in the Northeast, ate beef which is "poor man's protein".
The ban, he said, would lead to a hike in prices of other meat like fish and chicken and affect the livelihood of people associated with the trade.
It was going to affect farmers, he said, adding that Maharashtra faces 55 per cent shortage of fodder and banning slaughter of sick and old animals would aggravate the crisis.
O'Brien, whose submission was repeatedly interrupted by taunts and slogan-shouting from the treasury benches, said even in Dubai and UAE, where the meat of a particular animal was prohibited, people can buy it from select places.
"The fine for sexual harassment case is less than eating a particular meat within the confines of one's home," he said adding the ban would "change the fabric of the Constitution".
As BJP members opposed his submission but Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien ruled that a member has a right to raise any issue of public interest and those who disagree should give notice and raise it appropriately.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said no discussion should be allowed on the issue.