Associations of butchers opposing the beef ban in the Bombay High Court reacted cautiously to Friday’s judgment. While they welcomed the ruling to strike down sections of the law that criminalised possession of beef, they said those whose livelihoods had been hit by the ban did not get any relief.
Mohammed Ali Qureshi, a member of one of the organisations that petitioned the court, said, “We had challenged the entire concept of the beef ban. The Bombay High Court has only struck down some clauses, but we still have some relief from the fact that beef can be imported from other states.”
Friday’s order effectively allows people in Maharashtra to eat beef, provided they buy it from outside the state. “Hotels in Maharashtra suffered huge losses due to the inability to offer beef dishes. Now, that part of the problem is solved,” he added.
Butchers felt that apart from them, traders and farmers in Maharashtra would also be affected. “Farmers could sell aged cattle to traders earlier. Now there is nobody ready to buy such cattle because of the ban on slaughter,” Qureshi said. He added that buying beef from outside Maharashtra would prove to be expensive too.
Sayyad Qureshi, a member of another organisation that petitioned the court, said those who welcome the judgement are those who consume beef as they can now buy it from other states.
On how beef from other states would be clearly identified, he said transporters as well as traders would be expected to make arrangements to provide a bill or voucher. He said the organisation would consult lawyers before deciding on whether to appeal against the verdict on the issue of their livelihood.