There were rumblings of discontent both within state BJP and NDA ally National People’s Party (NPP) in Meghalaya on Tuesday over the Environment Ministry’s notification bringing restrictions on sale and purchase of cattle.
While BJP’s Meghalaya unit vice-president J A Lyngdoh reportedly threatened to quit over the issue, Conrad Sangma, Lok Sabha MP from Tura and president of NPP, wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the “unreasonable restrictions” in the notification and stated, “I am confident you will not approve the rules…”
Contending that they “violate basic rights of a person to freedom of choice regarding food”, Sangma wrote to Modi, “The rules, among other problems, impose a number of restrictions on cattle trade, which would have serious impact on socio-cultural and economic milieu of millions…. (rules) will not stand the test of constitutionality.”
He told The Indian Express, “This regulation is against the fabric of the nation and our culture. As a party, we are concerned about such policies, and we cannot accept this.” The NPP is part of the BJP-led government in Manipur.
Meghalaya BJP chief Shibun Lyngdoh said the rules are meant to ensure there is “no animal cruelty during slaughter”. He said, “This is not a ban on beef…it is misinterpreted. What it simply means is that there should be no animal cruelty during slaughtering; that there should be proper mechanised slaughterhouses.”
On reports that J A Lyngdoh has threatened to quit, party leader and Meghalaya in-charge Nalin Kohli said, “I have not heard from him… This law was brought by the Congress…As prabhari I can tell you there is no beef ban in Meghalaya; there cannot be since most people here eat beef, including most of our leaders.” Lyngdoh was unavailable for a comment.