The Indian government has ordered authorities in Kashmir to ban the slaughter of all animals in the Muslim-majority region for the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha.
The order of the Hindu nationalist government, released Thursday evening, risks exacerbating tensions in Indian Kashmir where anxiety has increased since New Delhi revoked its special autonomy status in August 2019.
The Himalayan region is divided between India and Pakistan, and the government of New Delhi has placed the territory it controls under direct control.
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Citing animal welfare laws, the Government Animal Welfare Council of India ordered police and authorities to “take all preventive measures” to end “illegal killing of animals and to take strict measures against offenders ”.
Cows are considered sacred by many Hindus and their slaughter is prohibited in the region and in many Indian states. The new decree extends the ban to all animals for the first time.
Muslims traditionally kill a goat, sheep or cow for Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of Sacrifice, and the Muttahida Majlis-e-Ulema, a coalition of Muslim religious organizations in Kashmir, expressed a “strong resentment ”at the government’s decision.
Cows are considered sacred by Hindus and their slaughter is prohibited in the region and in many Indian states. The new order extends the ban to all animals for the first time.https: //t.co/Y5f46IuOZh
– Huso_2.0 (@Mister_HSA) July 18, 2021
The Eid holiday is to be celebrated from July 21 to 23.
The group said in a statement that the sacrifice of animals in honor of Prophet Ibrahim “is an important principle of religion on this day.”
The MMU urged the government to revoke the “arbitrary” order which is “unacceptable to Muslims in the state because they directly infringe their religious freedom and personal rights.”
The government decree also sparked outrage on social media.
A trader in the main city of Srinagar, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the order was a further sign of “anti-Muslim policies being imposed on Kashmir.”
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Residents say they fear reprisals for expressing political views since the region’s special status was revoked in 2019.
AFP with additional contribution from GVS News Desk