J&K HC directive on beef sale evokes sharp reactions

Srinagar: Organisations like Jamaat-e-Islami and separatist Hurriyat Conference today reacted angrily to the Jammu and Kashmir High Court's directive to ban beef while the Bar Association said it will move court against it.

Hardline Hurriyat Conference and JKLF also gave a call for a shutdown in Kashmir on Saturday. A division bench of the High Court had on Tuesday directed the police to see that there is no sale of beef anywhere in the state after hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) against cow slaughter.

"There will be peaceful protests after Friday prayers and a complete strike on Saturday against the High Court order. Jammu and Kashmir is a Muslim majority state and the court has not taken into account the reaction (from the community)," Geelani said in a statement.

He said the directive has "not only hurt the sentiments of Muslims but is a direct intervention in our religious affairs.. No such law is acceptable to a Muslim which invades his faith." Demanding its immediate revocation, he said, "Eid-ul-Azha festival is around the corner and such an order will not be tolerated."

JKLF chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik also called a strike on Saturday against it. The High Court Bar Association said it will move the High Court to challenge sections 298A and 298B of the RPC prescribing a ban on killing of bovine animals. It said the directive was in violation of fundamental freedoms of the people, more particularly Muslims and amounts to an interference in their religious matters.

The court should have asked for views from public before passing the order as it has "far reaching consequences and will affect the religious sentiments and beliefs of a majority community of the state," it said. Jammu and Kashmir Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) also criticized the directive, saying "it will not accept the order which is against the tenets of Islam".

"We will not accept this order. It is not only against the secular ethos but also against our faith," newly-elected chief of JeI Ghulam Mohammad Bhat told reporters here. The HC directions comes ahead of Eid-ul-Azha later this month during which Muslims sacrifice bovines.

"It is not acceptable to us. We will do whatever is possible...it is a direct interference in our religious affairs," he said adding "beef is halal for us and we will continue to consume it." Muslim League headed by separatist leader Masarat Alam also denounced the order, saying "We are not going to compromise on our religious beliefs.

Beef is permissible (in Islam)" Majlis-e-Ittehad-e-Millat, an amalgam of various religious organisations, said it "strongly views the order as an attack on the faith of lakhs of Muslims." Meanwhile, Independent MLA Sheikh Abdul Rashid today submitted a private member's bill, seeking revocation of sections of the RPC restricting killing of bovine animals.

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