'Ban has to be decided by states, not Centre'
The issue of banning cow slaughter has to be decided by the respective states and the Centre's recent notification on sale of cattle has nothing to do with it, the BJP said on Wednesday amid a major controversy.
BJP leader Nalin Kohli, who is in-charge of the party's affairs in Meghalaya, said the state governments can decide on cow slaughter ban keeping in view the local food habits even as he admitted that in this state, a majority of the BJP leaders eat beef.
The comment assumes significance as the BJP's Meghalaya unit has views divergent to its central leadership since its local leaders eat beef.
"The BJP is saying this clearly that the question of having a law in a state on cow slaughter is to be decided by the state and not the Centre," Kohli told reporters here when asked about his party's position on the North Eastern states where majority of people consume beef.
"Every state government that decides to have a law or not have a law on cow slaughter, do so keeping in mind the local food habits of that particular state and in the North East every state government will keep this in account," he said.
Kohli said the Centre's notification banning sale of cattle in animal markets for slaughter is based on a Supreme Court order and recommendations made by a Parliamentary Committee.
"The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules 2017 is based on recommendations of a Parliamentary Committee report, which included members of all political parties and a Supreme Court order, he said.
"The notification has nothing written on cow slaughter and beef ban. Any state can decide on this and we fully respect the federal structure. How can the Centre impose on the states? The Constitution does not permit that and the Constitution is the only book the BJP follows," said Kohli, who is a lawyer himself.