Rahul Gandhi slammed the incident and three Kerala youth Congress workers were suspended.
Kerala: The Congress has suspended three workers of its youth wing in Kerala for killing an calf in public to protest against a Central government order regulating cattle sale. A video was circulated of a group of men slaughtering the animal and then distributing its meat in the state's Kannur district. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi has strongly condemned the act, calling it "thoughtless and barbaric." The Kerala government has said it will hold an all-party meeting to discuss the matter soon. One of the options it will consider is challenging the Central order in court, said state environment minister V Sunilkumar.
Here is your 10-point cheat-sheet to this story:
- The Kerala Police have registered a case against several Kannur Youth Congress workers, accusing them of slaughtering an animal in a way that causes public inconvenience, which is punishable with a year's jail term and fine. "Such elements have no place in the Congress," party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said today, announcing the suspension.
- The video shows the men shouting anti-government and pro-Youth Congress slogans as they slaughter the calf before a large group that included children. A BJP worker had filed a complaint with the police. "The video shows an ox being slaughtered. We have filed a case against the people involved in slaughtering a cattle in public view," Kannur Police Chief G Siva Vikram had told NDTV.
- "Cruelty at its peak. Cattle slaughtering by Youth Congress activists in broad day light, in front of the public gathering," tweeted the BJP's Kerala president Kummanam Rajasekharan, posting the video.
- "What happened in Kerala yesterday is thoughtless, barbaric and completely unacceptable to me and the Congress Party. I strongly condemn the incident," Rahul Gandhi had tweeted on Sunday.
- There have been protests across Kerala by several political groups against the central government's new cattle rules. They have called it an infringement on the right of people to food of their choice and alleged that they are meant to target Muslims just before the fasting month of Ramzan.
- The environment ministry said last week that animal markets will only be able to trade in cattle meant for agricultural purposes. It defined cattle as bulls, cows, buffalo, steers, heifers, calves and camels.
- The ministry said the regulation was to protect "animals from cruelty and not to regulate the existing trade in cattle for slaughter houses". Animals for slaughter will have to be bought from farmers directly, it said.
- Meat traders have said they plan to take the government to court over the new rules, calling it a move by the BJP-led government to hurt the business, run mainly by Muslims.
- One of the few states where beef is allowed, Left-ruled Kerala has said the centre's decision intrudes into the rights of states and is "against the principles of secularism and federalism in our country". Kerala will take a call on changing its rules only after a response from PM Modi, said Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
- The centre's new notification changes the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. While states have the power to pass their own laws on cow slaughter and beef consumption, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act applies across India.
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