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India’s Supreme Court Suspends Ban on Sale of Cows for Slaughter

The Supreme Court, in issuing its decision, emphasized the hardship that the ban on the sale of cattle for slaughter had imposed.

“The livelihood of people should not be affected by this,” Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar said in explaining the decision.

After the decision was issued, the government told the court that it would modify and reissue its May order, said P. S. Narasimha, a solicitor general.

The government could exclude buffalo from the ban — buffaloes are not considered sacred and buffalo meat constitutes the bulk of India’s “beef” exports.

The crackdown on the beef industry has become highly emotional, with a wave of attacks on Muslims suspected of either storing meat or transporting cattle for slaughter. It is believed that at least 28 people have been killed in cow-related violence since 2010.

In late June, after months of silence on the violence, Mr. Modi condemned the lynchings. Indian news media outlets have reported at least two cases of attacks on Muslims since he spoke out.

Abdul Faheem Qureshi, the leader of the All India Jamiatul Quresh Action Committee, which supports meat sellers, welcomed the court decision.

“We have to now restore the confidence of cattle traders that they can resume their business,” said Mr. Faheem Qureshi, who had filed a petition with the Supreme Court against the government ban. “It’s a victory for us.”

The Supreme Court order was also welcomed by the leather industry, which supplies brands like Zara and Clarks.

“The order has brought huge relief,” said Puran Dawar, chairman of the Agra-based shoe exporter Dawar Footwear Industries.

Apart from Muslims, the leather industry also employs lower-caste Hindus, mostly in menial jobs in tanneries.

But a cow-protection group said the government should have been more forceful in making its case in court.

“The government should have stood its ground by fighting for the implementation of the ban,” said Pawan Pandit, chairman of the India Cow Protection Group.

“Modi must respect the sentiments of millions of Hindus, who have supported his government,” Mr. Pandit said.

Source: NYT > World

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