However, authorities claimed that the order issued on Thursday citing animal welfare laws with reference to the Islamic festival was misinterpreted
The Indian government has ordered authorities in Kashmir to ban the religious sacrifice of all animals in the Muslim majority region and threatened action against the offenders just ahead of Eid-ul-Azha.
This communique triggered protest on social media and reactions from religious bodies, but the officer who issued the order said it was routine procedure following a communication from the Animal Welfare Board of India.
Authorities claimed that the order issued on Thursday citing animal welfare laws with reference to the Islamic festival was misinterpreted, according to the PTI.
The earlier order seeking to prohibit illegal killing of cows, calves, camels and other animals on Eid-ul-Azha was issued by the Animal Welfare Board (AWB) of India for the implementation of various acts concerning animal slaughter, they said.
A spokesman said that the AWB every year issues advisory regarding animal slaughtering to be carried out while following laws and rules.
“The same advisory has been issued this year also and has been forwarded to the concerned authorities," he added.
However, the Muttahida Majlis Ulema (MMU), an amalgam of religious bodies, told India Times that “it was government interference in religious matter.” The organization has convened a meeting on Sunday to chalk out a course of action.
Eid-ul-Azha, the celebration which is to commemorate Prophet Ibrahim’s devotion to Allah and his readiness to sacrifice his son, will be celebrated on July 21.
Kashmir Animal and Sheep Husbandry and Fisheries Department’s Director Planning GL Sharma said: “It was not an order. It was a letter from the Animal Welfare Board that has been referred to concerned departments.
“The letter has been interpreted in a wrong way by people... there is no ban on any sacrifice on the occasion of Eid,” he said.
Earlier, in a communique addressed to the divisional commissioners and IGPs of Jammu as well as Kashmir, the J-K Animal and Sheep Husbandry and Fisheries Department sought a ban on illegal killing of cows, calves, camels on the occasion of the Eid.
Sharma, while citing an official letter dated June 25 from the AWB, said a large number of sacrificial animals are likely to be slaughtered during Eid-ul-Azha scheduled from July 21-23.
The order by the Hindu nationalist government garnered vigorous criticism from religious and political organizations.
The National Conference party called for the revocation of the order.
Expressing dismay over the order, party's spokesperson Imran Nabi Dar said it is conceivable to flag that the "measure is unjust and inexcusable."
Cows are considered sacred by many Hindus and their slaughter is banned in the region and many Indian states. Last week, the Assam authorities finalized a bill to restrict the sale of beef in areas dominated by non-beef consuming communities and within a 5-km radius of temples.
The Cow politics
In the last decade, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has passed laws based on the belief in the holy status of cows.
These laws protect cattle from being eaten or sold, and uphold the belief in the animal’s divine powers. The government even set up a National Cow Commission for the purpose. At least 20 states have banned beef consumption, or regulate the sale of cows.
Since Modi came to power, Hindu nationalist mobs have killed dozens in the name of protecting cows. The victims were usually Muslims or other minorities, and the killers often got away with their crimes.