‘Sarkar is entering our kitchens… It’s a personal attack’

The activist says the ban will end up impacting lower strata of Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

Written by Aamir Khan | Mumbai | Published:March 23, 2015 2:09 am
Dr Noorjehan Safia Niaz Dr Noorjehan Safia Niaz

Dr Noorjehan Safia Niaz of the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, a group that works with underprivileged women of the community, recently led a protest at Azad Maidan against the state-wide beef ban. In an interview to Aamir Khan, the activist says the ban will end up impacting lower strata of Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

Did your protest against the ban see higher participation from Muslim women?

No. In addition to Muslim women belonging to the lower strata, we have Dalit Hindu and Christian women who consume beef and are involved with the beef industry in some way or the other. Women from areas such as Bharat Nagar, Behrampada, Naupada, Garib Nagar, Indranagar, Golibar, Khar (East) and Kalina have joined us.

How is the lower strata getting affected?

The biggest and most immediate impact is unemployment, for not only men but also women. Majority of these people belong to the poor working class who are either involved in beef trade or in the leather industry. The kasais or butchers for whom slaughter is the only job have been rendered jobless. There are those working in tanneries and carrying out other leather works. Nowadays, their wives and children go hungry as their diet primarily includes beef. This section does not know anything apart from working in the the sector revolving around the beef trade. The decision has affected a lot of people. With people losing jobs, families would resort to pulling out their children from school, and girl children will be the first ones to be affected. We need to look at the issue from a much larger perspective as it is going to have a chain reaction and multiple ramifications.

How does not eating beef affect the health of women and children?

Women and children belonging to the lower statra cannot afford chicken or mutton. So the only source left for getting little protein or nutrition is beef. It is the cheapest and most convenient source of protein. After the ban, their daily intake of protein and nutrition has stopped, leaving them with no option. With the steep prices, even vegetables are out of their reach.

Is the issue here religious, or is it economic?

The decision to ban beef is a communal one targeted at the marginalised Muslims and Dalits. President Pranab Mukherjee, a Congress leader, gave his assent to the Bill, which only goes to show there is no difference between the BJP and the Congress, the so-called secular force. The move is purely anti-minority and a violation of people’s constitutional right, specifically Articles 21 (Protection of life and personal liberty) and 29 (Protection of interests of minorities) of the Constitution. It is like the sarkar is now entering our kitchens and asking us what to eat. It is an extremely personal attack.

The law has been enforced, and a backtracking seems unlikely…

We have legal remedies and if necessary we will take it. I have been informed that a few people have moved petitions in the court. It is evident that more people are coming forward and agitating against the ban. We have been able to gather 5,000 signatures from people who are against the government’s decision in a day. We will appeal before the state minority minister and also the minority commission. Frankly speaking, for now, moving court seems like the best option for us.

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  1. A
    Anil Sharma
    Mar 23, 2015 at 10:45 am
    She can not say like it. She should know when other natural source of food is available for u, u shoold not kill innocent animal just for ur taste.
  2. H
    Mar 23, 2015 at 8:42 am
    Its waste of time by aamir khan,
  3. P
    Mar 23, 2015 at 2:23 am
    Her argument is baseless and illogical. Don't justify this killing of our poor animals. Try being a herbivorous than carniverous and you will talk and think sensibly. Who gave you the platform to present your views, even a child can write and talk better if he has to present his project. Please don't represent anyone you are insulting them. This is modern India and would appreciate if you do not call Hindus Dalits they are our people and part of us. We disregard sonia and her government who are trying to scramble for power hunt.
  4. P
    Mar 23, 2015 at 2:13 am
    You don't have to eat at the cost of living beings. Stop making an issue just because you have craving for torturing animals and putting on your table. Don't live to eat these poor animals, thinking will be more rational otherwise your behavior will be that of our past government corrupt goons. Who exploited people and swelled their earnings.
  5. S
    Stephen Billings
    Mar 23, 2015 at 4:56 pm
    The ban on beef is simply a case that shows the government does not like or want Muslims to survive! I hope the Courts see that this law is wrong and should be repealed.
  6. S
    Mar 23, 2015 at 10:53 am
    Instead of nutrients beef is a rich source of Mad Cow disease & colon cancer. U should b grateful to govt for banning beef. If we want drugs to b banned bcz they r hazardous then why oppose BeefBan. Moreover tmrw u may say human fleash is a good source of nutrients then wud u start eating humans justifying it as a solution to potion control... Slaughtering cow & progeny is illegal & we shd abide by law instead of finding excuses to appease our taste buds...
  7. S
    Sudhir Narasimhan
    Mar 23, 2015 at 9:10 pm
    I know it's illegal to slaughter cattle in Maharashtra? But is it illegal to import beef? Also beef is pretty expensive, unless you buy that stringy, low quality meat extract from old bullocks/cows
  8. T
    Mar 23, 2015 at 11:24 am
    "beef is a good and cheap source of protein" thats a ridiculous argument to slaughter any animal... I suggest please do some research on ill effects of eating beef there are many studies on what eating red meat does (e.g. ). Try soya as an alternative. As far as employment goes unfortunately there is no ban on buffaloes yet or other animals for that matter... (Muslim chamber welcomes cow slaughter ban- 1556374) . Besides better employment options that can be explored...
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