Govt signals easing of cattle rules

NEW DELHI: The Centre will not push states to enforce new rules that made it virtually impossible to buy cattle for slaughter, and will allow separate meat markets so that exports don’t hurt, a top government law officer said on Thursday.

Additional solicitor general P Narsimha’s comments signal an accommodating stand by the government after critics slammed the new rules as trying to dictate food habits with a backdoor ban on beef.

Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court gave the government two weeks to say why the rules shouldn’t be struck down as unconstitutional. The court is P NARSIMHA, ASG hearing a bunch of petitions challenging the move that was put on temporary hold by the Madras high court two weeks ago.

“There is no beef ban in the country today… in view of the interim order by the Madras high court the central government is of the view that the rules are stayed across the country,” Narsimha HARSH VARDHAN, Union minister told a leading newspaper.

“The government is in the process of inviting objections from stakeholders… It will also form meat markets keeping the demands of importers in view.”

Environment minister Harsh Vardhan too said the government will look into all the complaints “in full depth and honesty”.

The new rules have crimped supplies to the country’s ~1-lakh crore meat and allied industries and hurt mostly Muslim meat and leather traders who face mounting violence by increasingly assertive cow vigilante groups. Farmers have also been deprived of a traditional source of income from selling non-milch and ageing cattle.


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