India's top court says no to national ban on cow slaughter

Published: January 27, 2017
Cows are revered in the Hindu scriptures as the 'mother' of civilisation and many worshippers equate the slaughter of cows or eating beef as blasphemy. PHOTO: AFP

Cows are revered in the Hindu scriptures as the 'mother' of civilisation and many worshippers equate the slaughter of cows or eating beef as blasphemy. PHOTO: AFP

NEW DELHI: India’s top court Friday rejected a petition seeking a nationwide ban on cow slaughter, a flashpoint issue for Hindus who consider the animal sacred.

The Supreme Court dismissed an activist’s proposal to prohibit the slaughter of cows across India, a measure that would have effectively banned beef consumption in the nation of 1.25 billion.

Cows are revered in the Hindu scriptures as the ‘mother’ of civilisation and many worshippers equate the slaughter of cows or eating beef as blasphemy.

But millions from India’s huge minority populations — including Muslims, Christians and lower caste Hindus — eat beef, which isn’t widely available and is banned altogether in some states.

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Just eight of India’s 29 states permit the consumption of beef or the slaughter of cows.

“One state may ban slaughter, the other may not,” the court said in rejecting the petition.

“We will not interfere in state laws.”

Several radical religious groups, and the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, have long campaigned to implement a nationwide ban on cow slaughter.

The BJP won national elections in 2014 with a thumping majority, pledging in part to ban cow slaughter. But so far the government in Delhi has failed to convince the states to pass such sweeping measures.

Some BJP-ruled states have in recent years pushed through tougher penalties including ten-year jail terms for those convicted of cow slaughter or possession or consumption of beef.

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Simmering tensions over the issue have spilled into violence since BJP’s national ascent to power, with a string of attacks on minorities by right-wing Hindu vigilantes resulting in the deaths of at least 10 people.

In 2014, a 50-year-old Muslim man accused of slaughtering a cow and consuming its meat was murdered by a mob at his home near New Delhi.

The lynching prompted international outrage and accusations of a rise in religious vigilantism under the Modi administration.

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Reader Comments (12)

  • Sarcasm
    Jan 27, 2017 - 4:24PM

    Every death is sad and not acceptable.

    But 10 deaths due to beef issue is very bad.

    Bakistani suicide bombers can kill atleast 10 times more each time every time with precision. Bagistan can give some lessons.Recommend

  • Sokultu
    Jan 27, 2017 - 4:50PM

    ust two statements given by the court & you chose to stuff your article with reference to BJP and Modi. Did BJP petitioned the court or Modi was ay witness here ?
    I am anti BJP guy from Delhi but do not push a context which does not apply.Recommend

  • goggi (Lahore)
    Jan 27, 2017 - 5:27PM

    Killing is the worst crime on our planet, which includes killing of ALL pacific animals.Recommend

  • Hindu
    Jan 27, 2017 - 5:36PM

    You always interfere in indian tradition
    LOOk at ur’s behavior
    atleast respect hindu traditionRecommend

  • Bunny Rabbit
    Jan 27, 2017 - 5:46PM

    great welcome news !!!Recommend

  • Nasir Zuberi
    Jan 27, 2017 - 6:39PM

    Besides beef consumption by Indian Muslims, beef is among top export commodities of India.
    India is stuck between the two, if the ban slaughter national for stopping local consumption, they will also have to stop the exports.
    Banyan will not do that by will continue slaughtering its Mother. Recommend

  • Giri
    Jan 27, 2017 - 7:13PM

    It is just a matter of time. As BJP goes on winning state after state…those laws also will be changed. Inevitable in India which is a Hindu nation. Recommend

  • Haramullah Fattuddin
    Jan 27, 2017 - 7:48PM

    Sensible decision from Indian perspective. Though many may not agree with it, but they will respect the decision.Recommend

  • WinFin
    Jan 27, 2017 - 8:03PM

    Aahh .. look at these crying hindus from rapistan. They want to be able to continue the fascade of democracy yet not have heart to accept the rights of minorities.Recommend

  • rohan
    Jan 27, 2017 - 9:18PM

    I am a lower caste Hindu but dont eat Beef. Please stop spreading lies and stop dividing Hindu societies further. Recommend

  • Mian
    Jan 27, 2017 - 10:14PM

    Secular or Hindu India? Decide.Recommend

  • Bunny Rabbit
    Jan 27, 2017 - 10:18PM

    Welcome move . Those honest hard working folk in beef industry are celebrating today . Recommend

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