Kerala sees 'beef fests' in protest against ban on sale of cattle for slaughter

The Central government has banned the sale and purchase of cattle from animal markets for slaughter

Updated - May 27, 2017 09:48 pm IST

Published - May 27, 2017 04:35 pm IST - Thiruvananthapuram

Minister for Tourism Kadakampally Surendran (right) and CPI(M) Ernakulam district secretaray P Rajeev participatin in a beef festival organised by SFI in front of Ernakulam Town Hall on Saturday to protest the Centre's ban on sale and slaughter of cattle. Photo: Thulasi Kakkat

Minister for Tourism Kadakampally Surendran (right) and CPI(M) Ernakulam district secretaray P Rajeev participatin in a beef festival organised by SFI in front of Ernakulam Town Hall on Saturday to protest the Centre's ban on sale and slaughter of cattle. Photo: Thulasi Kakkat

With every political party barring the BJP coming out against the Central notification banning sale of cattle for slaughter in animal markets, protests erupted in several parts of Kerala on Saturday, many of these places witnessing ‘beef festivals’ organised by student and youth activists.

The CPI(M)-led DYFI and SFI were in the forefront of the protests, but the Opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) was also in the fray, holding marches, burning effigies and organising public kitchens where beef was cooked and served to activists and passersby. Among those who came out against the Central directive was Congress Working Committee (CWC) member A.K. Antony, who, while addressing a meeting to mark the 53rd death anniversary of Jawaharlal Nehru, called upon party workers not to attach any importance to the Central notification and ‘tear it and throw it into the dustbin’.

In Thiruvananthapuram, the agitation was led by the DYFI and SFI. Addressing activists, DYFI national president Mohamed Riyaz said, “We will cook beef and eat beef and also protest against the Central government. That is what we want to tell Narendra Modiji.” In Kochi, the DYFI-SFI activists were joined by Tourism and Cooperation Minister Kadakampally Surendran and CPI(M) district secretary and former Rajya Sabha member P. Rajeev, who partook in the beef festival, the former accusing the Central government of cutting at the very root of people’s right to eat what they wanted. Youth Congress activists also took out a march against the Central measure.

In Kollam, Congress activists led by District Congress Committee (DCC) president Bindu Krishna cooked beef in front of the DCC office. The Centre, she said, had no right to interfere with the livelihood of lakhs of people. “ This is nothing but a intrusion into the fundamental rights of the citizens of this country,” she said. At Thodupuzha in Idukki district, protesters took out a march with the head of a buffalo.

Beef sellers

Meanwhile, it was business as usual for beef sellers across Kerala on Saturday, with people queuing up to buy one of their favourite food item. On Saturday morning hundreds of cattle were traded at Kerala’s biggest cattle market in Kuzhalmandam, Palakkad district.

“The only thing we are worried is what will happen if the State government implements the rule. We doubt this is going to be practical. Anyway we will wait,” a group of cattle traders told the media.

“We came as usual and started doing the same thing as we have been doing for years. Our customers are here waiting to collect their packets of beef,” said a butcher in the busy Kozhikode market.

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