Authorities must not encourage food bigotry or harass legitimate businesses

Last week Gujarat adopted a draconian law against cow slaughter, making it punishable with a 14-year jail term. This is on the heels of a clampdown on abattoirs in UP. Over in the Jharkhand capital, licenses of mutton and chicken shops haven’t been renewed. Voices are growing from Hindutva organisations in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and other BJP-ruled states for a blanket closure of meat shops. Taken together there are worrying signs of a rise in food bigotry, cow vigilantism, harassment of legitimate meat businesses and competitive fundamentalism.

It’s important to note that cow slaughter was banned in all these states even before the current NDA government took office. Gujarat for example had imposed a complete ban not just on slaughtering but also on transporting cow and progeny in 2011. Today if it were simply a matter of improving the implementation of all laws, incidentally including such bans, it wouldn’t necessarily be such an adverse development. A clampdown on illegal slaughterhouses would be welcome if it meant a more modern, compassionate and hygienic meat industry.

Unfortunately this is not the message that goes out when Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani says he wants to make Gujarat vegetarian, his government decrees veritable life sentences and Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh talks of hanging those who kill cows. Or when legitimate UP enterprises that account for over half of India’s $5 billion worth of buffalo meat exports are threatened. It’s not just precious foreign exchange but lakhs of jobs that are at stake in an economy characterised by jobless growth. Even if one wants to institute bans on cow slaughter, this cannot be equated to the taking of a human life. Such conflations amount to religious fundamentalism which will breed conflict and violence – Pakistan next door is a good example of how it plays out. The vigilantism and violence seen from Dadri to Una could now get worse, endangering social stability and harmony.

Some months ago Prime Minister Narendra Modi had come down heavily on such vigilantes, calling out the majority of ‘gau rakshaks’ as anti-socials who proclaim themselves cow protectors only to cover up their misdeeds. Yet, in conflicting signals, legitimate meat businesses are suffering and non-vegetarianism is facing an aggressive Hindutva attack. Both Centre and BJP-ruled states need to send a more coherent message, about respecting individual liberties and protecting legal businesses.


Violation of norms: Mohali administration reseals drug de-addiction centre at Kharar

Officials seal a private drug de-addiction centre in Kharar on Friday. Express Officials seal a private drug de-addiction centre in Kharar on Friday. Express

Following the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the district administration re-sealed a private drug de-addiction centre in Kharar on Friday. The High Court found that the owners of drug de-addiction centre were not following the norms set up by the state government. The court had also directed the district health authorities not to renew the licence of the owners of the centre. Talking to Chandigarh Newsline, additional deputy commissioner Nayan Bhullar said a case was going on in the High Court, which had formed a committee of two doctors to submit a report after the centre was sealed by the health authorities last year.

She added that the division bench the High Court, after going through the details of the report submitted by Dr Sukhwinder Kaur and Avnash Kaushik, ordered on March 27 that the centre should be sealed. “The court has also ordered us not to renew the licence of the owners of the centre. I along with my team comprising health and police officers sealed the centre on Friday evening,” Bhullar said.

Bhullar said the health authorities first received complaints against the centre in October last year that more than 150 inmates were kept there by flouting the norms. Only 50 inmates could be kept in the centre at a time. Regular check-ups of patients were also not conducted and the administration also received complaints that the people who were running the centres allegedly used to beat the inmates and were not providing proper food to the inmates.

After receiving the complaints, the health authorities carried out a raid on the centre on October 9 last year and sealed it. The police also registered a case under sections 341 ( wrongful restrain ), 342 (wrongful confinement), 465(forgery ) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The case was registered at a local police station against the three owners of the centre.

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Partizan Belgrade European ban lifted after CAS appeal

Partizan gave evidence to clarify their position with the tax authorities. (Source: Reuters) Partizan gave evidence to clarify their position with the tax authorities. (Source: Reuters)

Partizan Belgrade’s European ban over unpaid debts was lifted by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Tuesday after the Serbian club provided evidence that they had cleared overdue payments to various parties.

UEFA said in January that Partizan had outstanding debts with other clubs, employees, and local social security and tax authorities, which is in breach of European club competition licensing regulations.

European soccer’s governing body opted to exclude the club from participating in the next UEFA club competition it would otherwise qualify over the next three seasons, a decision Partizan appealed against with the sports tribunal organisation.

Partizan gave evidence to clarify their position with the tax authorities and that they had made a “timely payment” of their debt with the other parties involved.

“Taking into account the fact that FK Partizan has satisfied this condition, the club will be eligible to compete in future UEFA club competitions,” CAS said in a statement.

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