MUMBAI — Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis today said his government has no plans to stop slaughter of animals other than bulls and cows for meat, and that the Advocate General's statement in court had been misinterpreted.
"I have spoken to Advocate General. He has said that his statement in the court yesterday has been misinterpreted," Fadnavis said in the state Assembly here.
The Chief Minister's clarification came in the wake of the high court's query to the government as to why there is ban on slaughter of cows, bulls and bullocks only and subsequent media reports that the government might extend the ban to other animals as well.
Fadnavis, however, said there is no restriction on the government to ban slaughter of other animals but there are no such judicial orders as well.
"Neither Advocate General Sunil Manohar has tabled such a view nor given any such reference," he said, adding, the government has no stand regarding a blanket ban on slaughter of animals other than cows and bulls.
Raising the issue in the House, members from ruling ally Shiv Sena, Arjun Khotkar and Sunil Prabhu, sought to know the state's stand on the high court's query to the government.
Earlier, Sunil Prabhu (Sena) said the AG's statement had created confusion in the minds of people.
The new Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act, banning slaughter of bulls and bullocks, was brought in by the BJP-led government and it came into force on March 4.
Under the law, anyone found selling beef or possessing it can be jailed for up to five years and fined Rs 10,000.
The ban has sparked protests from political and cultural groups, alleging it amounted to encroachment on individual choices and eating habits of large sections of people, especially the minority communities.
Meanwhile, former Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said the AG's statement had given the perception that the present government wants the whole of Maharashtra to be converted into a vegetarian state.
The Congress leader, however, hoped that Fadnavis' statement in the Assembly will help remove such a perception.
"I have an apprehension that somebody from outside, may be RSS or its ideologues, is guiding this government. What the law officer (AG) told the court yesterday had given a perception that the government wants the entire Maharashtra to be converted into vegetarian state."