West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday called the central government’s decision to ban the sale of all kinds of cattle for slaughter across the country “unconstitutional”, adding that her state would not accept the decision. She said that they also plan to challenge the law constitutionally.
“It is absolutely unconstitutional so we won’t accept it. We will also challenge it,” she said at a press conference.
The Trinamool Congress leader said the Centre cannot dictate terms to states with respect to List 2 of Seventh Schedule of the Constitution. She said the Centre’s decision was aimed at destroying India’s federal structure and said the central government should not interfere in state matters.
“Government may come, the government may go. Democracy should continue. Secularism should stay.” She added that she found it odd that the guidelines had been passed before Ramzan. “Why was this law decided at this time?”
The rules, issued under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, require anyone purchasing cattle to provide an undertaking that the animals will be used agricultural purposes and not slaughtered.
The Centre’s controversial notification issued last week has created a furore in the country. Kerala has already rejected the directive. Beef festivals are being held across the state to protest against the ban. Many say the directive violates personal rights and will have impact India’s cattle traders, who are mostly believed to be Muslims.