The Modi government is considering softening its new rules that ban the sale and purchase of cattle at animal markets for slaughter. According to media reports, the government is considering either allowing separate meat markets or demarcating areas in animal markets for the sale and purchase of cattle.
The Hindustan Times quoted Additional solicitor general P Narsimha as saying, "The government is in the process of inviting objections from stakeholders across the country... It will also form meat markets, keeping the demands of importers in view."
On Thursday, the Supreme Court issued notice to the Centre on a petition challenging the May 26 notification. The new rules issued under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act required cattle traders to give an undertaking that the animals were being sold for agricultural purposes and not for slaughter.
With the notification wreaking havoc on the cattle markets and trade in buffalo meat, some states including Kerala, Arunachal Pradesh and West Bengal came out against the Centre's move. Critics and political opponents said that BJP was using the notification to control the food habits of people in the country.
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, "The NDA government does not intend to bring in any law that would in any manner interfere with the eating habits of any community."
Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan told the Business Standard, "The issue is being politicised and the notification has been 'misconstrued, misinterpreted and misunderstood'. If the misinterpretation is because of particular words or sentences, we will make efforts to remove that confusion."
The BS also reported that the government will amend its cattle trade rules, and make it clear whether buffaloes should be kept out of the ban.
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