- 80 students participated in a beef fest at IIT Madras
- They were protesting against Centre's ban on sale of cattle for slaughter
- Since the notice, CPM has held over 300 'beef festivals' across Kerala
The protesting students belong to the Progressive Students' Union of the IIT. A student leader who did not wish to be identified, said it was a case of the BJP's "imposition of its communal agenda on the masses".
The AIADMK government has not formally responded to the new notification from the Union Environment Ministry, which comes under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and is applicable across India. Over the weekend, Chief Minister Edapadi Palaniswami said, "I can only respond after reading the full order. I cannot react to media reports".
The opposition DMK has planned a protest on May 31, which will be led by the party's working president MK Stalin. Accusing the Centre of "snatching away" the fundamental right to choice of food, the party has also criticized the E Palaniswami-led AIADMK government for "keeping mum" on the issue.
The new Central rule has drawn criticism in south, especially in Kerala, where a huge controversy started after some Youth Congress workers slaughtered an ox in public over the weekend. The Congress immediately suspended the workers and party vice president Rahul Gandhi condemned the incident, calling it "thoughtless" and "barbaric".
The Left-led Kerala government has opposed the Central rule. Since the Central notification was issued, the CPM held over 300 "beef festivals" across Kerala, where cooked beef was freely served. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying the Centre's decision was intruding into the rights of states.
Kerala plans to hold an all-party meeting soon to discuss the matter. Its agriculture minister V Sunilkumar told news agency Press Trust of India that one of the options they will consider is challenging the Central order in court.