New Delhi (Agenzia Fides) - India’s Supreme Court suspended a government ban on the sale of cattle for slaughter throughout India. It is a fundamental right and it is the freedom of every citizen to choose their own food, said the Supreme Court.
The ban was decreed by the government of Narendra Modi in India in May and concerned the sale of livestock, including cows, for slaughter and trade of livestock for farm owners.
The measure was rejected by the Northeast states and Kerala state (Indian states with strong Christian presence), while many states governed by Modi’s party, the government of the Baratya Janata Party adopted it. Protests and petitions were held throughout the country, supported and signed by members of the Catholic Church.
In fact, the ban primarily damaged Muslim and Christian farmers and traders and thousands of families and small businesses who counted on their livestock and on the sale of their livestock. In addition, Muslim breeders, in particular, suffered the growing violence on behalf of "vigilantes" groups who arbitrarily began to target those who, in their view, did not respect the ban, carrying out extrajudicial executions which remained unpunished.
Among the many episodes, last month, a crowd lynched 16-year-old Muslim Junaid Khan traveling on a train from Mathura to Delhi, accused of carrying bags full of beef. A strong protest exploded in several Indian cities with the slogan "NotInmyName". Also in June, a 45-year-old Muslim merchant was killed by a crowd of more than 100 people in Ramgarh neighborhood in Jharkhand because he was suspected of carrying meat in his car.
Now the suspension of the ban is welcomed with relief from the Muslim community of India and by thousands of Dalits, who are often assigned the task of animal slaughter.
A source of Fides in India observes: "The ruling is a sudden blow for the Hindu nationalist government, who used the ban order to please the religious sentiments of its electors". Cows are in fact considered sacred in the Hindu religion. After Modi came into force in 2014, many Indian states have adopted more stringent laws against cow slaughter. (PA-PN) (Agenzia Fides, 13/7/2017)