The streets of Kolkata will on May 6 play host to a milk festival, to be organised by a cow protection group as a mark of solidarity with the Centre’s new cattle trade rules, and to counter beef festivals in different parts of the country.
The West Bengal Cow Development Cell, a cow protection group whose leader is also a BJP state committee member, is hosting the fest. It will also protest and picket in front of slaughter houses and cattle markets in the state to enforce the Centre’s rules, which has been questioned by states such as West Bengal, Kerala and Karnataka.
Speaking with The Indian Express, BJP state committee member and leader of the group Subrata Gupta said: “On May 6, we will organise a milk festival in Kolkata. We will offer milk to people of all religions, castes and creeds, and create awareness regarding the health benefits of milk and the benefits of cows. We are also planning to hold similar fests in various districts as well.”
The move comes a day after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee lambasted the Centre, saying the move is an infringement of a state’s rights. Describing the move as “undemocratic, unconstitutional and unethical”, Mamata said the state government will approach the Supreme Court over the issue.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan also wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, highlighting his government’s disapproval over the move.
Organisers stated they would distribute 200 litres of milk during the fest — more if needed. Pamphlets highlighting the various benefits of cows will also be distributed.
“A lot of beef festivals are being held in different parts of India. CPM and Congress are behind these festivals. Our milk festival is a counter-protest. Cow is sacred, and there are so many benefits of cows, including milk. We will highlight them,” said Gupta.
Beef festivals were organised in various parts of Kerala by the CPM and Congress, while students of IIT-Madras too held a beef fest inside the campus recently as a mark of protest.
The organisers have approached the police for permission. They plan to hold the festival near Esplanade in Kolkata. The cell will also write to the Union environment ministry, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee over the issue.
“We will also write to Mamata Banerjee, asking her to stand by cow protection,” Gupta added.