Breaking his silence on the incident in Dadri, where 50-year-old Mohammad Akhlaq was beaten to death and his son severely injured following rumours that they had consumed beef, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Friday dared Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ban export of beef.
“You talked about pink revolution. Now you are in power, so why don’t you ban beef export, build a consensus on it,” Akhilesh said in Lucknow. He said “some forces want to vitiate the atmosphere”.
In the run-up to the last Lok Sabha elections, Modi had attacked the then UPA government over meat exports, saying it was encouraging “pink revolution”. “Every person has the right to live and practice his religion. One should not interfere in each other’s religion,” Akhilesh said.
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In an apparent reference to Modi’s foreign tours, he said: “The world where you are roaming, marketing and promoting your country, just think once what kind of food they eat from dawn to dusk. That’s why we should not interfere in each other’s way of life.”
He assured that “those responsible” for the incident “will not be spared, however strong they might be or no matter how much try to hide behind anybody”.
Reacting to Akhilesh’s remarks, Union Minister of State for Commerce Nirmala Sitharaman said “export of beef (meat of cow, oxen and calf) is prohibited” as per the country’s meat export policy.
“Preservation of cattle or enacting law on cow slaughter does not fall under the purview of the central government,” she said in a series of tweets. “Only boneless meat of buffalo, male and female (not beef) and meat of goat and sheep is permitted to be exported, subject to provisions specified in gazette notifications on raw meat. As per the distribution of legislative powers between Union of India and states, preservation of cattle is the matter on which the state legislatures have the exclusive powers to legislate,” she tweeted.
According to figures available with the commerce ministry, buffalo meat is among the top 25 exports of India.
Sitharaman added that the foreign trade policy mandates that each meat consignment is accompanied by a certificate from the competent authority certifying that the meat has been derived from buffaloes unfit for milching and breeding.
“It is also mandatory for exporters to subject meat and meat products to anti-morgen and post-morgen examinations. Exporters would be required to certify that the raw material have been sourced exclusively from APEDA registered integrated abattoir or APEDA registered meat processing plant,” the minister tweeted.