03/03/2015 10:46 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

Maharashtra Bans Beef; 5 Year Jail Term For Sale Or Possession

A woman worships a cow as Indian Hindus offer prayers to the River Ganges, holy to them during the Ganga Dussehra festival in Allahabad, India, Sunday, June 8, 2014. Allahabad on the confluence of rivers the Ganges and the Yamuna is one of Hinduism’s holiest centers. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

Residents and tourists in the megapolis of Mumbai now will have to do without their hamburgers and beef steak as the state of Maharashtra has banned the possession and sale of the meat.

A law passed by the legislature in 1995 has now received the presidential assent and has become effective. Anyone found selling beef or being in possession of it can be jailed for five years and fined Rs. 10,000.

The prohibition has come into force almost two decades after the BJP-Shiv Sena government in the state in 1995 passed the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Bill, 1995. The BJP, now in power at the centre, is in favour of a nation-wide ban on cow slaughter as the animal is revered by Hindus. Currently a ban exists in some states.

On Monday night, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis thanked President Pranab Mukherjee for giving his assent to ban beef in Maharashtra.

While a 1976 law prevented the slaughter of cows in Maharashtra, The Indian Express reported that the new Act will ban the slaughter of bulls as well as bullocks. But the new law allows for the slaughter of water buffaloes, which provides inferior quality carabeef that makes up only 25 percent of the total beef market in the state.

Beef traders told The Indian Express that the ban will render thousands unemployed, and drive up the costs of other meats in the state.

The beef ban has outraged many on Twitter, who consider it an infringement on personal dietary choice.