Christian leaders in India are speaking out against the federal government’s nation wide ban on the sale of cows for slaughter. Many religious minorities, including Christians and Muslims who eat beef, see this as a move by BJP-led government to appease hard-line Hindu nationalists who constitute a significant portion of the BJP’s support. When the BJP was elected to lead India’s government, many feared that they would pursue a Hindu nationalist policy, leaving religious minorities behind. Unfortunately, that is exactly what has happened since 2014 with the recent ban on cow slaughter being just the latest development.
06/02/2017 India (Vatican Radio) – The Church leaders in India say the Government’s ban on sale of cattle for slaughter across the country is a violation of human rights.
The nationwide ban has alarmed minority groups and led to protests in several states. Beef is a cheap source of protein for Muslims and Christians who together form 20 percent of India’s population as well as tribal and Dalit people.
The environment ministry banned the sale of cattle, buffaloes and camels for slaughter through animal markets and banned establishing livestock markets within 50 kilometers of an international border and 25 kilometers of a state border. Livestock markets will only be able to trade cattle for agricultural purposes such as ploughing and dairy production. Taking the animal over state boundaries would also require special approval, the government’s May 26 order has said.
To the Hindu religion, cows are sacred animals and killing them is a sin. Orthodox Hindus worship them as “gods” symbolizing peace and prosperity.
According to Father Maria Stephen, public relations officer of the Catholic Church in Madhya Pradesh, the ban is part of the government’s “hidden agenda” in appeasing hard-line Hindus.
“If the government is so concerned about animal cruelty, it should ban the killing of all the animals and birds,” Father Stephen told ucanews.com.