Cattle slaughter ban comes up in TN Assembly: EPS finds himself isolated; Stalin & allies walk out
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) found himself isolated in the Assembly after he refused to take a stand on the recent notification on the sale of cattle for slaughter. EPS said he would await court judgment.
Slamming EPS for lacking the guts to stand up to the Centre for the fear of income-tax raids, Leader of the Opposition MK Stalin walked out of the Assembly.
Stalin was joined not only by DMK allies like the Congress and the All India Union Muslim League but also pro-government MLAs Karunas, Thamimum Ansari and Thennarasu.
Stalin told reporters that neighbouring Puducherry and Goa had declared they would not enforce the Centre’s order.
Thennarasu said the proposed ban on the sale of cattle for slaughter would hurt farmers. More importantly, the government had no right to interfere with the food habits of people he added.
Palaniswami, however, told the House that cow slaughter ban had been in force in the state for the 40 years. What the order sought to do was extend a ban on the sale of cattle for slaughter.
Reading out the 25 May notification issued by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, EPS said it sought to regulate the cattle market, banning the sale of cattle for slaughter. The order also said that the cattle market was not allowed to function within 25 km of the inter-state border.
It also stipulates that the cattle bought in the market should not be slaughtered for six months at least and also excludes cattle from the list animals which are sacrificed as part of religious rituals.
EPS pointed out that the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court had already granted a four-week stay on enforcement of the notification on a petition filed on 25 May. The case wil come up for hearing on 11 July.
Similarly, Abdul Makhim Qureshi of Hyderabad had moved the Supreme Court and his petition has been listed for hearing on 11 July.
Citing media reports, the Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan had said the Centre planned to bring amendments to the notification, keeping in mind representations that it would affect the farmers.
Following this, EPS said in Assembly that his government would enforce the order of courts. Finding the reply unsatisfactory, the Opposition walked out.
Meanwhile, adding to the government’s discomfiture, Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao has forwarded the CM a petition submitted by Stalin where he has alleged that trust vote of 18 February last was vitiated by horse-trading.
The Governor forwarded the petition along with the CD on a sting operation carried out by two private television channels which show two MLAs alleging that the ruling party MLAs were offered a bribe of crores to support the government in the trust vote.
A Raj Bhavan communiqué said a copy of the memorandum and the CD submitted by Stalin had been referred to the Speaker and the Chief Secretary. The press release also noted that the requests by Stalin in the memorandum are matters already pending before the High Court of Madras.
When the DMK raised the issue in Assembly, the Speaker had refused permission stating that Stalin himself had moved high court and it was pending there.
Stalin had in his petitions in the court and in a memorandum to the Governor, demanded an enquiry by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to find the money trail.
On another petition in the Madras High Court, advocate Vairakannu said the Election Commission (EC) had registered an FIR over distribution of money in the RK Nagar by-election which eventually led to its cancellation.
The petitioner, who moved court on the basis of the EC’s reply to an RTI query, said the FIR did not name any suspect. He added that it should have said the FIR should have mentioned it was against “unknown persons”. It was a blank FIR which asked the State Chief Electoral Officer and the returning officer to take follow-up action.
The court directed the EC to produce the 34-page report and also the case diary and the case registered by a local police station and posted the matter for the next hearing scheduled for 23 June.