Sunday, April 19, 2015

NYT Op-Ed On Increased Ban On Cattle Slaughter In India

Today's New York Times carries an interesting Opinion piece by University of Maryland Mathematics Professor Manil Suri criticizing steps taken last month by the Indian state of Maharashtra (which includes Mumbai) to expand the ban on slaughter of cows. The ban was extended to slaughter of bulls and oxen and the sale of beef was made punishable by up to five years in prison. He says in part:
The laws have affected more than just restaurants. Thousands of butchers and vendors, their livelihood abruptly suspended, have protested in Mumbai. The leather industry is in turmoil. Beef is consumed not only by Indian Muslims and Christians, but also by many low-caste Hindus, for whom it is an essential source of affordable protein. The poorest waste nothing, from beef innards to coagulated blood, while their religion pragmatically turns a blind eye. Low-caste Dalit Hindu students, and others, have organized beef-eating festivals to protest the infringement on their culture and identity.
With the recent re-criminalization of gay sex, bans on controversial books and films and even an injunction against the use of the colonial-era name “Bombay” instead of “Mumbai” in a Bollywood song, the new laws join a growing list of restrictions on personal freedom in India. Already, the police in the city of Malegaon have arrested three Muslim men accused of calf slaughter, and ordered livestock owners to submit mug shots of cows and bulls to a cattle registry, to create a record in case any of them go missing.