West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday told the officials in her administration that there was no need to follow the Centre’s notification banning the sale of cattle for slaughter at animal markets till the state government issued a direction to that effect. She, however, asked the police to take steps to stop cow smuggling in the border district of North 24-Parganas “at any cost”. Speaking at an administrative review meeting, Mamata said, “Cow smuggling has to be stopped at any cost. The police should take stern action to put an end to it.”
Cattle smuggling in North 24-Parganas district bordering Bangladesh is a sensitive issue with the BJP accusing the Trinamool Congress (TMC) government in the state of not doing enough to put an end to the illegal trade.
Banerjee asked the police “to deal sternly with communal flare-ups”, while accusing the BJP of “making efforts to incite communal violence” in the state.
“The police should keep its eyes and ears open. If someone tries to incite communal violence, beat up both the parties. Do not spare anybody, irrespective of the person’s political affiliations. The BJP is trying to incite communal violence in the state,” she said.
Speaking on the ban on sale and purchase of cattle at animal markets for the purpose of slaughter, she asked the district administration to ensure that no one followed the Centre’s notification in that regard.
“The holy month of Ramzan is on. Everybody has the right to observe religious festivals. Just like Durga Puja, Kali Puja and Christmas, Eid is also observed in our state.
“What one will eat, is his or her choice. No one has the right to dictate it. Do not follow that (Centre’s) order, the state has not issued any such order,” she said.
The administration should ensure that there was “no confusion” regarding the issue, the TMC supremo told the officials at the meeting, adding that till the state government issued an order to that effect, there was no need to follow the Centre’s notification.
On Monday, she had denounced the Centre’s notification banning the sale and purchase of cattle at animal markets for slaughter, saying it was a “deliberate attempt to encroach on the states’ rights and destroy the federal structure”.
Mamata had also said her government would challenge the notification.