New Delhi: 11 March 2015

The Social Democratic Party of India, (SDPI), has criticized plan of the BJP lead Central government to impose ban on beef all over India. It is shocking that the President of India gave assent to the Maharashtra Animal Preservation Bill, which had been pending for last 20 years, extending a ban on the killing of cows, considered sacred by Hindus, to bulls and bullocks.

SDPI national president A. Sayeed in a statement said that beef ban is not a religious issue but a broader social and economic one — linked to the liberalism that is the bedrock of our Constitution. It infringes on the fundamental rights of citizens to choose their own food, he added.

He pointed out that a few years ago, a Supreme Court bench, which included Justice Markandey Katju, had said: “What one eats is one’s personal affair, and it is a part of his right to privacy, which is included in Article 21 of the Constitution. It is a right to be left alone. He said Hinduism’s greatest propagator Swami Vivekanand had said thus: “You will be surprised to know that according to ancient Hindu rites and rituals, a man cannot be a good Hindu who does not eat beef”. (The Complete Works of Swami Vivekanand, Vol. 3, page 536).

He said that banning beef will only drive up prices of other meats. This will have an inflationary impact and will raise household food bills. It will affect livelihoods of traders and butchers who deal with bovine meat. It will render lakhs of people dependent on this business jobless. Such curbs apart from costing jobs will hit India’s exports also.

Sayeed questioned what plan has the government got to rehabilitate the large number of people working in the beef business and their numbers is in lakhs across the country. The government just cannot snatch away their livelihood and take away their legal means of earning their bread and butter and the poor would be deprived of the cheapest meat they could afford for a protein-healthy diet, he added.
He said that such a ban will further worsen the long-standing agrarian problems prevailing in the cow-belt including shortage of fodder. It will push up input costs for farmers.

The statement said according to the myth propagated by Hindu nationalists, cows were worshiped in ancient India and it was the invaders, both Muslim and Christian, who brought beef-eating to India. But, facts and religious scriptures prove that it was the Vedic-Hindus who were among the world’s first urban consumers of beef. This was even before Jesus Christ was crucified and 1000 years before Islam was formed.

The statement mentioned a number of quotes from the Vedas which prove that Vedic-Hindus were cow eaters. The quotes are: 1. Manusmriti (Chapter 5 / Verse 30) says, “It is not sinful to eat meat of eatable animals, for Brahma has created both the eaters and the eatables.” 2.Maharishi Yagyavalkya says in Shatpath Brahmin (3/1/2/21) that, “I eat beef because it is very soft and delicious.” 3. Apastamb Grihsutram (1/3/10) says, “The cow should be slaughtered on the arrival of a guest, on the occasion of ‘Shraddha’ of ancestors and on the occasion of a marriage.” 4. Rigveda (10/85/13) declares: “On the occasion of a girl’s marriage oxen and cows are slaughtered.” 5. Rigveda (6/17/1) states that “Indra used to eat the meat of cow, calf, horse and buffalo.” 6. Vashistha Dharmasutra (11/34) writes, “If a Brahmin refuses to eat the meat offered to him on the occasion of ‘Shraddha’ or worship, he goes to hell.”

Sayeed said that the ban on beef of bullocks and bulls are definitely not welcome. It is unnecessary and uncalled for. This is just to appease the right wing extremists who only try to damage the social fabric of the nation.