The beef ban row saw a new twist this week with Jammu and Kashmir Law Minister Basharat Bukhari of PDP sacking two High Court lawyers who were instrumental in the ban order, straining further the ruling party’s relations with its ally BJP that bats for ending bovine slaughter.
Bukhari ordered the sacking of the Additional Advocate General of Jammu, Vishal Sharma and Deputy Advocate General of Jammu Parimoksh Seth with immediate effect, invoking condemnation from ally Bharatiya Janata Party that the PDP ministers were flouting the principles of a coalition government by taking unilateral decisions. Seth had earlier filed a PIL seeking ban on the slaughter of bovine animals in the state.
State BJP leaders opposed the latest move tooth and nail with senior leader Professor Hari Om claiming that the coalition may not survive after 3 October when the Assembly begins its eight-day long session.
The National Conference is expected to move a bill for scrapping the Ranbir Penal Code, which makes bovine slaughter and its sale a criminal offence.
BJP, on the other hand, is geared up to move a resolution in the autumn session seeking capital punishment for those found guilty of slaughter of bovine animals and selling beef. The People’s Democratic Party being a Kashmir centric party has already said that they will not implement the 9 September High Court order banning the slaughter of bovine animals.
BJP MLA from Nowshera Assembly in Rajouri, Ravinder Raina submitted a resolution to the Assembly secretariat demanding implementation of the ban. BJP has moved this resolution to counter the bills of the NC and the CPI(M). “The Assembly secretariat is unlikely to accept any of these bills or resolutions as its business for the autumn session has already been announced by the secretariat,” a secretariat official said.
The Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Kavinder Gupta, who is a BJP member, has already discussed with the party leaders how to deal with the situation in the Assembly if the bills seeking revocation of beef ban are entertained. A senior BJP leader from Jammu told this newspaper that they will try to ensure that the Assembly does not accept any such bills in the coming autumn session.
Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh of BJP has demanded complete enforcement of the beef ban order in Jammu. Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani, on the other hand, has asked the people to maintain communal harmony in the state.