Mumbai: Miffed over Maharashtra government's refusal to reconsider the ban on sale and consumption of beef in the state, RPI(A) chief Ramdas Athawale today threatened to launch a 'jail bharo' agitation.
"Having liberty to voice an opinion and to choose what to eat and what not to eat are part of the fundamental rights provided by the Constitution.
No government can take away these rights. If the government refuses to listen to our opinion and does not allow us to eat what we want to eat, we will start a jail bharo (go to jail) agitation," he said.
Athawale, a Dalit leader whose party is an ally of BJP-led state government, was talking to reporters during a protest over the beef ban near the collector's office here.
He said he would soon seek an appointment with President Pranab Mukherjee in this regard.
"We are an ally of BJP. It doesn't mean we will close our eyes and let the government do injustice to the minority community. People are tired of being unemployed. They want their work to be restored. On the other hand, farmers can do nothing but watch helplessly as they are not allowed to sell the old cattle to slaughter houses," he said.
As the President gave the assent to the Maharashtra amendment bill banning the slaughter of bulls, bullocks (in addition to the existing ban on cow slaughter), only he can nullify the Act now, Athawale said.
Meanehile, beef traders in the city today went on a strike to protest the ban.