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J&K: Letter against animal sacrifice sparks row, admin clarifies no ban

The UT administration, however, clarified that there was no ban on animal sacrifice, and that the letter was a routine advisory sent out every year.

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A GOVERNMENT letter asking senior administrative and police officers to bar sacrifice of animals outside slaughter houses during Bakr Eid festival next week generated heat in Kashmir valley on Friday, with Muslim religious leaders calling it unacceptable. The UT administration, however, clarified that there was no ban on animal sacrifice, and that the letter was a routine advisory sent out every year.

The Animal Husbandry official, who sent the letter, said the order has been misunderstood. “It was a letter from the Animal Welfare Board and I only forwarded it. It has been misunderstood. There is no ban on slaughtering of animals,” Director Planning, Animal Husbandry, G L Sharma, told The Indian Express.

‘Stoppage of illegal killing/sacrifices of cows/calves, camels & other animals…’ as its subject line, the letter sent by Sharma said, “A large number of sacrificial animals are likely to be slaughtered in the UT of J&K during Bakr Eid festival scheduled from 21-23 July 2021 and the Animal Welfare Board of India, in view of animal welfare, has requested for implementation of precautionary measures to strictly implement the Animal Welfare Laws….” It cited provisions in law relating to cruelty to animals and slaughterhouses.

“In view of the above, I am directed to request you to take all preventive measures as per the provisions of Acts and Rules referred above for implementation of the animal welfare laws, to stop illegal killing of animals and to take stringent action against the offenders violating animal welfare laws,” said the letter sent to senior administrative and police officers.

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As the letter started doing the rounds on social media, voices of concern were raised because the Animal Welfare Board bars slaughter of animals outside slaughterhouses in municipal areas. Since the Valley doesn’t have functional slaughterhouses, barring a few in Srinagar, the letter kicked up a row.

When asked how can people slaughter animals in slaughterhouses when there aren’t many, Sharma told The Indian Express: “That is only for the municipal areas. In villages, people can slaughter the way they do. There is no ban on slaughtering.”

Later, the Animal and Sheep Husbandry Department also clarified that the J&K government has not issued any ban order on slaughtering of animals in accordance with rules. “Pertinently, Animal Welfare Board of India every year issues advisory regarding animal slaughtering to be carried out while following laws and rules. The same advisory has been issued this year also and has been forwarded to the concerned authorities,” it said in a statement.

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Earlier in the day, the Muttahid Majlis Ulema (MMU), an amalgam of the religious leaders led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, termed the order as unacceptable and sought its immediate revocation.

“The MMU is surprised that sacrifice of bovine animals on the religious occasion of Eid is being termed illegal and disallowed under the garb of prevention of cruelty to animals Act… The government should desist from issuing such arbitrary orders that are unacceptable to the Muslims of the state as they directly infringe upon their religious freedom and their personal law, causing them great anguish,” it said in a statement.

First published on: 17-07-2021 at 04:39 IST
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