ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Hindutva and Cow Protection

The politics of food by banning beef is a new ploy by Hindutva groups. Gayatri Nair has rightly pointed that out in her article, “The Bitter Aftertaste of Beef Ban: ‘Choice,’ Caste and Consumption” (EPW, 5 March 2016).

Hindu groups in villages of West Bengal regardless of caste sell their cattle when the animals fail to produce milk, or when they are deemed infertile (neither normally fertile nor completely sterile) or when they stop breeding. Bullocks are sold when they become old or stop working. To get handsome prices, the animals are sold around the time of Muslim parab (festivals). The buyers are largely Muslim. The Hindu sellers do not want to nurture their cattle till the animals die. They are not moved by the religious arguments pertaining to cow protection. The National Democratic Alliance government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee did try to protect old cattle through the provision of monthly allowance—a scheme of the Animal Welfare Board then under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. But the scheme was never implemented.

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