The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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VHP takes cow war to Kerala

New Delhi, June 26: Dubbing Kerala the country’s “biggest slaughterhouse”, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad has threatened an intense campaign against entry of cows into the state.

The move is likely to hurt the fragile communal peace in a state — after the events at Marad in Kozhikode — where roughly 45 per cent people are minorities, mostly beef-eaters.

The state, which has the maximum number of slaughterhouses, also accounts for a flourishing hide trade with the highest export.

Angry with the Centre’s slow response to its demand for a law banning cow slaughter, the VHP said thousands of cows are brought to Kerala for the purpose from neighbouring Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

Recently, members of the Sangh outfit stopped 350 cows at Neyyatingra, near Thiruvananthapuram on Kerala’s border with Tamil Nadu, and sent them back.

Alleging ill-treatment of the cows, state VHP organising secretary Kummanam Rajashekaran said: “We stopped the cows, garlanded them, gave them water and food, conducted Gopuja and sent them back to Tamil Nadu.”

Rajashekaran vowed to intensify the campaign soon by setting up “gosalas at all checkposts to stop the cow trade”.

Five entry points from the neighbouring states have been identified, he said. These are Neyyattingra in Thiruvananthapuram district, Chengota in Kollam, Kampamtheru in Idukki, Walayar in Palakkad and Wayanad near the Karnataka border.

The VHP leader said cows are made to walk several kilometres, often without water and food, or brought in overcrowded trucks to Kerala before being slaughtered.

He cited the law for protection of animals which stipulates that cows should not be made to walk more than 3 km, and when brought in trucks, the maximum number should not exceed six. They should be provided food and water. It also prohibits public killing and display of meat.

Claiming growing awareness against cow slaughter, Rajashekaran said several environmental and ecological protection groups, some with Left leanings, were supporting the movement.

He was in Delhi to meet minister of state for home Swami Chinmayanand to demand a CBI inquiry into the May 2 communal violence in Marad, that claimed nine lives.

Rajashekaran alleged that Kozhikode and neighbouring Malappuram were becoming a haven for terrorists.

The Marad violence, that killed eight Hindus and a Muslim, was part of a “premeditated” plan worked out a year ago, he said. “The motive was to eliminate 150-odd fishermen families comprising 1,000-odd people.”

Rajashekaran submitted memoranda to the National Human Rights Commission, National Commission for Women, the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe Commission and the Backward Class Commission.

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