Beef festivals were held across Kerala on Saturday to protest against the Union government’s ban on the sale of all kinds of cattle for slaughter at animal markets across the country. The protest feasting was conducted despite Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s assurance that he would meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the matter.

Members of the ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist), Congress led United Democratic Front joined the protesst events by eating beef, PTI reported. They staged their protests outside the Secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram. “We will eat beef to show our protest against the Central government. We want to tell this to Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” Democratic Youth Federation of India national president Mohammed Riyaz, who led the protest, said.

Congress party’s Kollam chief said “beef delicacy will be packed and sent to head post office for delivery to Modi ji,” PTI reported. State Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran joined protesters in the consumption of bread and beef curry in Kochi, the news agency reported.

Congress leader and former Union Minister AK Antony said the notification should be “torn to bits” and “dumped in a dust bin”. Several more protests have been planned by various organisations from Monday onwards. In a letter to Modi, the chief minister had said, “Today it is saying you can’t eat beef, tomorrow it can say no to fish also. We will not allow this to happen in our state.”

The new rules notified by the Environment Ministry on Tuesday, require anyone purchasing cattle to provide an undertaking that the animals are bought for agricultural purposes and not slaughter.

The ban is likely to impact the export and leather industry. The new notification comes on the back of demands from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh for the Centre to issue a law banning cow slaughter across the country. Cow slaughter is banned in most states, except for the North East and Kerala, but the slaughter of other bovine animals such as buffaloes is much more common.