Kerala beef merchants protest against attacks, check on cattle trucks

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Kerala beef merchants protest against attacks, check on cattle trucks

Beef merchants in Kerala on Monday revived their protest against checks and attacks on vehicles carrying cattle from other states.

In what the traders called the second stage of agitation against continuing attacks — most of them reported near Palakkad, bordering Tamil Nadu — beef stalls downed shutters across the state on Monday.

Livestock trade between Tamil Nadu and Kerala has been hit since mid-June after the attacks on cattle trucks, allegedly by Sangh-affiliated outfits with a proclaimed stance against cow slaughter.

They have severely affected consumption of beef, a staple in the state’s non-vegetarian menu.

Sources said supply of red meat in Kerala was only about 10 per cent of its potential. Kerala Beef Merchants Association (KBMA) vice-president K M Ummer said transport of cattle from other states, too, has stopped following protests in Tamil Nadu against extensive government checks at the state border and continuing attacks by people claiming to be animal rights activists. “These attacks clearly have nothing to do with animal rights. These are criminal acts by people who are against cow slaughter. We don’t have a choice but to shut business and make ourselves heard,” Ummer told Deccan Herald.

KBMA representatives said the state government was yet to act on the issue, which is snowballing into a livelihood crisis for thousands of workers in the state.

Price rise

The price of beef in Kerala crossed Rs 300 per kg on Monday. Hotels in the state, hit by the shortage, have reportedly hiked prices of beef dishes.

KBMA members are said to be planning a protest march in Coimbatore later this week. They are also reportedly planning to block entry of trucks carrying vegetables and poultry from other states. While the movement of cattle trucks into Kerala was stopped on Monday, players in the branded and organised sectors continued to supply beef.

“We don’t have a slaughterhouse. We source the meat from elsewhere. As of now, the crisis has not affected these sellers,” said Baby, an employee at a meat stall here.

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