SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir government, which faces a September 23 deadline to submit its response to the Kashmir division of the High Court (HC) on the petition demanding repealing of the Ranbir Penal Code provisions banning slaughter of bovines as well as sale of their meat, has not yet taken any decision on the issue, Kashmir Reader has learnt.
Following the directive of the Jammu division of the HC on enforcing the ban, and the consequent widespread protests in the Valley, a former professor of Kashmir University had filed the petition asking for repealing the relevant law.
Law Secretary Mohammad Ashraf Mir told Kashmir Reader that the law department has not received any communiqué from the government in this regard. “Nothing is decided about the position taken by the state (sic). The state government is still discussing the issue,” Mir said. On his part, the newly-appointed Chief Secretary BR Sharma said “the state government has not taken any decision and whenever it will be taken the government will directly inform the Court.”
While the government now only has a day left to submit its response, statements emanating from coalition partners BJP and PDP make it clear there is an apparent divide over the issue.
Deputy CM Nirmal Singh, and many other BJP legislators, have asserted that the ban would be imposed in the state. Other party legislators have said they will oppose any bill demanding the repeal of the law in the coming assembly session. A BJP legislator, Ravindra Raina, in fact, has even moved a bill in the assembly demanding capital punishment for anyone defying the law.
The RPC, as it stands now, entails imprisonment of up to 10 years or a fine or both for a person who contravenes the relevant law.
PDP President Mehbooba Mufti had earlier said the government has not used force to implement the ban and that there would not be “any major change in the government policy”, which seemed to imply a stand opposite to that of the BJP.
Amidst protests, condemnation and open slaughter of bovine animals in the Valley against the ban, even pro-India parties like the National Conference, the Communist Party of India (M) and the Awami Itihad party expressed their ‘displeasure’ over the HC order. The NC and AAP have also moved individual bills against the Dogra-era law in the assembly.