It has been decades since Diwali was a festival of diyas, rangolis, pooja and good food. Now, it is a festival of vulgar crystal gifts, noisy and polluting firecrackers, expensive alcohol based card parties and dying animals.
The big animals like cows die from burns. Smaller ones like dogs and cats die from hunger as they cower in sewers waiting for the bombs to stop. But, even Diwali seems wonderful compared to Bakr Id which is next week.
Bakr Id : The Incomparable Horror
Thousands of young goats that respond to names like Munni and Guddu will have their throats slit in front of the children of the house that they have played with. They will die of broken hearts long before the blood from their slit throats drips outs. Once proud skipping creatures, now totally dazed by being crammed into trucks and brought hundreds of miles into crowded bazaars. They will be dragged with jute ropes round their necks to various places, mostly illegal courtyards behind houses, and there they will die. Earlier it was goats but now camels are getting increasingly sacrificed.
Camel sacrifice : The new trend among the rich muslims!
Killing camels is a fad that was started about seven years ago by the rich Muslims of Hyderabad. They have taken advantage of the fact that they control the politics of that city to break every animal law in India. The same problem exists in West Bengal where the politicians are so busy wooing minorities, that they ignore all the criminal activities that are turning India upside down. The problem is increasing manifold but nothing concrete is being done against it.
The Plight of Camels is being Ignored
Worst of all, are the long lines of camels that are pouring into the cities from all over India. There are reports coming in of hundreds of camels that have come in and are standing bound together especially in West Bengal, Karnataka, Kerela & Andhra Pradesh. The 150 camels standing near the Howrah station will be killed in Kolkata on Bakr Id. Many people, including me, have repeatedly talked to the senior police officers in Kolkata but the efforts have gone unheard. This is a sad situation & must be stopped before many environmental and other hazards occur.
Why camel killings must be Banned on Bakr Id?
The camel slaughter must be stopped on Bakr Id because it would eventually disturb the ecological balance and lead to extinction of camels. The prime reasons for banning the mass camel killings are-
Camel Killing is Ilegal in India
Camel count is dwindling
There are less than 4 lakh camels left in India. They are very slow to breed. According to official estimates they are reducing at the rate of 10 % per year – which means no camels in 10 years. The reason given is the killing at Bakr Id.
Camel is economic backbone of deserts
The camel sustains the economic health of Rajasthan and Gujarat. It is a draught animal and its absence will impede all rural movement. Roads cannot be built in many places in the desert. Its milk sustains rural desert communities which will be deprived of protein. Its dung is important for the spread of many desert species of trees. For these reasons camel is rightly called ‘the ship of the desert’.Even in this dark scenario of mass camel slaughter there has been a ray of hope in the fight against Bakr Id killings. This is cited in the following case which can be used as an example to stop camel killings in all areas across India.
Camel killing is illegal by High Court Ruling : A Case
The Hight court order-Killing camels has been made illegal by the High Court of Kerala by the Honourable Justice K Balakrishna Nair.
What was the case?
The case is an interesting one. Two camels were brought to Ernakulam in 2005 by a beef shop owner and his assistant, to kill and sell on Bakr Id. I was there at the time and the district administrator was an excellent one, a devout Muslim called Haneesh. The Tehsildar of Kayannur Taluka who also exercises the power of the Executive Magistrate prohibited the slaughter.
Appeal of butchers-The two butchers went to court saying that their right to livelihood had been affected and that killing camels was not banned by law.
Counter-affidavit arguments filed by the Administration-
- All animals that were to to be sold for meat had to get a permit and that the butcher only had a permit for beef ( cow’s meat) and not camel’s meat.
- The administration further argued that “Trade of occupation or keeping of goods which are injurious to the health of and comfort of the community can be prohibited and regulated by the competent authority and in exercise of that power and in good faith”.
- The Health Officer of the Local Health Authority of Cochin also submitted that there was no facility to kill camels in any slaughterhouse.
- As per the provisions of the Municipality Act and the Panchayat Act only the slaughtering of cattle, sheep, goat and pig is allowed and that too with a valid licence only and in a licenced slaughterhouse. Therefore, no licence could be given for slaughtering camels.
- Also, the meat of an animal had to be inspected after it was killed but no vet was competent to check it and nor were the slaughterhouses as the camel is not a notified animal.
- The Municipal act provides that the Secretary may grant special permission for slaughtering animals on the occasion of festivals but the camel is not on the list.
The judge took all the arguments into consideration and issued a 13 page order saying that the licence to sell beef could not extend to the sale of camel’s meat. Therefore, the butchers were ordered to surrender their camels and they were disallowed from slaughtering them.
What You Can Do?
I want you to take this article and show it to the police and the courts if necessary as quickly as possible. None of them understand the harm that the killing of camels is doing to the economics of rural India and to the law and order situation. The religion of the criminal does not matter : it is when his crime is ignored or condoned that all of society suffers.