Shillong, Oct 20: Ahead of Assembly elections in Meghalaya, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said Centre’s notification on cattle slaughter doesn’t ban cow slaughter. JA Lyngdoh, vice-president of Meghalaya BJP unit, said the notification only regulates animal markets and the rules mentioned in it should be struck down if they put restrictions on cattle slaughter. The BJP’s explanation came after the Congress party claimed that the Centre has banned cattle slaughter.

“(The) rules do not, at any point, ban cow slaughter. Though the rules do not say it, the justification for them can perhaps be traced to the direction of the Supreme Court, which passed an order to frame guidelines to prevent animals from being smuggled out of India for the Gadhimai Festival held in Nepal, where largescale animal sacrifice takes places, and to Bangladesh,” Meghalaya BJP leader JA Lyngdoh was quoted as saying.

Lyngdoh rejected the claims that Centre’s ban on cattle slaughter is an absolute one and said that the high court of the Supreme Court should strike down it if the rules ban cow slaughter. He added that the notification was issued after the Supreme Court had in July directed the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to frame rules under Section 38 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.

The Environment Ministry on May 26 modified the rules to prevent cruelty to animals, making it mandatory to ensure that cattle are not bought or sold for slaughter. The move sparked widespread protests and was opposed by several states. On June 12, Meghalaya Assembly had unanimously passed a resolution against the notification and demanded the immediate withdrawal of it.

“This House takes a strong note of the shortcomings and infirmities in these Rules (Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Regulation of Livestock Markets Rules, 2017), as notified and resolves that the same may be withdrawn by the Government of India with an immediate effect, so as to maintain the federal and secular character of our Constitution or be faced with a situation where the law prohibits some activity, while the everyday-life practices it on a large-scale due to harsh economic realities, a situation surely to be avoided at all costs,” the resolution stated.

On July 11, the Supreme Court extended across the country the Madras High Court order putting on hold the Central government’s notification banning the sale and purchase of cattle for slaughter from the cattle market.