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Voluntary moratorium on cow killing

New Delhi, Feb. 1: One of the most influential Muslim organisations in the country has issued a fatwa against the slaughter of cows in states where it is banned, volunteering to revive a goodwill gesture of the Khilafat era.

In an announcement made on the eve of Bakri Id, Mufti Habib-ur Rahman, the head of the fatwa bench of the Dar-ul Uloom of Deoband, said: “Though cow slaughter is legitimate under the Shariat, it is advised that sheep, goat and camel may be sacrificed in states where there is a ban on cow slaughter. The law of the land should not be violated and peace should be maintained in the states and the country.”

Located in western Uttar Pradesh, the Dar-ul Uloom is the largest theological school in the subcontinent.

The RSS was quick to welcome the Deoband order, saying it would pave the way for Hindu-Muslim harmony. “With this, one of the major issues of contention has disappeared,” said RSS spokesman Ram Madhav. VHP general secretary Praveen Togadia hailed it as a “historic milestone”. “This is historically very significant. They should now withdraw the Ram Mandir case unconditionally,” Togadia added.

Barring Bengal, Kerala, Andhra, Jammu and Kashmir and some northeastern states, others have banned cow slaughter.

A Muslim theologian said the fatwa was a response to appeals from Muslims in western Uttar Pradesh, who felt it would go a “long way” in dispelling “misgivings” Hindus may have. But he stressed that usually goats and sometimes buffaloes, but never cows, are sacrificed on Bakri Id.

The theologian said in the prevailing political atmosphere, rumours could provoke a communal clash and Muslims wanted to pre-empt such a possibility. The cow has often been the cause of riots in sensitive places.

The edict also reflects the willingness among the moderates in the minority community to go the extra mile — witnessed during the aborted Ayodhya truce talks — to heal the wound that was split open in Gujarat.

Mohammad Madani, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind general secretary, welcomed the fatwa and said his organisation had passed a similar resolution last year.

During the Khilafat movement, which united Hindus and Muslims against the British in the 1920s, minority community leaders had on their own passed a resolution advising against cow slaughter to cement the amity.

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