Neha Thirani Bagri and Nida Najar of the New York Times report from India on Maharashtra state’s recent ban on the slaughter, sale, and possession of beef—now crimes punishable by up to five years in prison.
Although the majority of Maharashtrans are Hindu, not all are thrilled to see the religious reverence for cows written into law, and worry that it reflects wider changes triggered by the election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India’s Hindu conservative BJP Party.
In particular, some opponents claim that the law will disproportionately harm the livelihoods and nutrition of Muslims and other minorities, who tend to staff the cattle industry, and rely on beef as a cheap staple.
As activist Noorjehan Safia Niaz protested to The Indian Express:
"The decision to ban beef is a communal one targeted at the marginalized Muslims and Dalits," she said, adding that the decision was tantamount to the government "entering our kitchens and asking us what to eat."
Worth the Read:
- “India: Police enforce beef ban with cow ‘mugshots,’” BBC, March 31, 2015.
- Aamir Khan, “Sarkar is entering our kitchens…It’s a personal attack,” The Indian Express, March 23, 2015.
- Jackie Northam, “Indian State Bans The Slaughter, Sale and Consumption of Beef,” NPR, March 3, 2015.
"Holy Cows," Heidi & Matt (2004), Flickr Creative Commons.