Amid brewing anger in Kashmir over ban on sale of beef in the state, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) could find itself in a precarious situation in coming days as its ally Bhartiya Janta Party, Tuesday cautioned against any interference in the existing law.
The BJP’s stand comes at a time when opposition has asked the PDP-led Government to decriminalize cow slaughter and sale of beef by amending the 1932-law.
Divulging party stand on the issue, BJP’s Vice-President Ramesh Arora said there was no need to repeal or change the existing law banning sale of beef in J&K.
“There is no need to disturb the present position (ban on sale of beef). The State Government is duty-bound to implement this law and all other laws prevalent in the J&K,” Arora told .
The party’s stand against “any interference” in the law comes a day after Union Minister SanjeevBalyan told media in Jammu that September-9 High Court ruling— calling for strict implementation of ban on sale of beef in J&K—should be implemented and strict action should be taken against violators.
Balyan’s statement is being viewed as the stand of the BJP high command on the issue which is snowballing into a major controversy.
Opposition National Conference has already asked PDP-led Government to bring an ordinance to decriminalize cow slaughter and sale of beef ahead of Eid-ul-Adha. The National Conference is also bringing a bill in the upcoming Assembly session next month to seek changes in the 1932 law which bans slaughter of cattle and sale and purchase of beef.
BJP spokesperson Arun Gupta said the law is applicable since the time of Maharaja in J&K and political parties should desist from “interfering” with it.
“Our (BJP’s) stand is clear that this law is applicable as of today, so nobody has any role,” Gupta said.
Cow slaughter was banned during Maharaja’s time in J&K according to a ruling documented under Section 298-A and 298-B of the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC).
The Court direction calling for implementation of the existing ban on sale of beef has already evoked sharp reaction from separatists, mainstream parties and religious organizations. People in Kashmir have been staging protests in different districts across Kashmir and at some places people have slaughtered bovines to defy the ban.
Commenting on the BJP’s stand, PDP Chief Spokesman Mehboob Beg said “interests of our people and their sentiments are a priority” for the PDP.
“The formation of this alliance was like bringing together north and south poles. It is not easy to handle the situation but we are sure the Government will find the way under the Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed. We will continue to work for our people and that is our responsibility.”