The Jammu and Kashmir High Court directive seeking implementation of a century-old law, banning slaughter of bovines in the state, has increased beef consumption in Kashmir.
Since the issuance of the court direction earlier this month, the consumption of beef has increased in urban pockets such as Srinagar, where mutton has remained a preferred choice, as the ban is being seen as an infringement of religious rights.
The direction of the High Court to the administration to ban beef and slaughter of bovines has also united religious groups, which have vowed to do the opposite.
Qazi Yasir, Mirwaiz or chief preacher of south Kashmir, on Thursday organised a hunger strike to protest the ban and appealed to the people to slaughter bovines on Eid, scheduled on September 25.
“The people of Kashmir should give a befitting reply to the decisive agenda. We should all offer bovine sacrifices collectively (on Eid),” said Yasir, who heads a religious group, Ummat-e-Islami.
A similar appeal for slaughtering bovines on Eid has been made by another religious group, Jamiat-e-Ahle Hadees. In a statement, it said the bovines “including cows and buffaloes” would be sacrificed on Eid.
“No law in the world can make illegal what has been made legal by Allah’s law,” said Mushtaq Ahmad Veeri, vice-president of the Jamiat-e-Ahle Hadees, at a function in the city here.
In the aftermath of the court order, residents across the region, including in the city here, registered defiance of the law by slaughtering bovines.
The preparation for Eid, marked by sacrifice of an animal, has also been impacted by the court order as more people in Kashmir are planning to slaughter a bovine instead of sheep or goat, which has been a tradition in most areas.
Saleem, a Srinagar resident, who has bought a bovine for sacrifice on Eid, said “no power” can change halal, made legal by Islamic law, into haram, made illegal by Islamic law.
“It has been made legal by Allah and for us, Muslims, Islam is a priority,” he said.
Peer Suhail, director, Centre for Research and Development Policy, said the Muslims in Kashmir were attempting to exert their religious identity by opting for bovine slaughter in defiance of the law.
“To exert their religious identity, the urban pockets of Kashmir in particular, which are not otherwise fond of beef are making a statement by opting for its consumption. Therefore, it will not be a surprise if people slaughter bovines on this Eid to make a point,” said Suhail.