Indian court suspends cow slaughter ban

2017-05-30 22:41
A stray cow walks past a bus stop in Allahabad, India. (Rajesh Kumar Singh, AP)

A stray cow walks past a bus stop in Allahabad, India. (Rajesh Kumar Singh, AP)

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New Delhi - An Indian court on Tuesday temporarily suspended a ban imposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government on the sale of cattle for slaughter, dealing the first legal blow to the controversial measure.

The government last week prohibited the sale and purchase of cows - an animal considered sacred for Hindus - for slaughter across India.

The sudden ruling sparked protests against what many saw as an overreach by the Hindu-right Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Some states where cow slaughter is legal vowed to fight the decree.

The Madras High Court in the southern state of Tamil Nadu stayed the federal ban on Tuesday, becoming the first jurisdiction to mount a successful challenge.

"The court ruled that the order be put in abeyance for four weeks and asked the central and state governments to reply to the petition filed by my client," said Ajmal Khan, a lawyer for the petitioners.

Federal ban

The petitioners from Tamil Nadu objected to the ban, saying it infringed on their right to eat what they choose.

Beef and buffalo meat is a common delicacy in some south and northeastern Indian states but taboo in most of India.

Some states organised "beef fests" to protest the ban. Organisers in Kerala state killed a calf, triggering outrage and counter rallies by BJP supporters where cows were adorned with flowers.

The slaughter of cows, as well as the possession or consumption of beef, is banned in most but not all Indian states. Some impose up to life imprisonment for infringements.

The new federal ban affected not just the trade in cows but bulls, bullocks, buffaloes, calves and camels.


Read more on:    india

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