Maulana Badruddin Ajmal has appealed to Muslims in Assam not to slaughter cows during Eid al-Adha, popularly known as ‘Bakrid’.
What he said: AIUDF founder Ajmal issued the appeal on the grounds that cow slaughter hurts the sentiments of the followers of Sanatana Dharma.
He said Islam does not mandate slaughter of cows and that other animals can be offered for qurbani on the occasion.
Citing that Hindus revere the cow, Ajmal said he was making this “strong appeal” to Muslims to promote communal harmony.
He added that the Darul Uloom Deoband, the prime Sunni Islamic seminary in the world, had issued a similar appeal a couple of years ago.
Change of heart? Ajmal had distributed cows for qurbani to Muslims until last year. His appeal is a result of the Assam Cattle Preservation Act, 2021.
The Act was passed by the state assembly on 13 August 2021 and came into force immediately. Since Eid al-Adha fell on 20 July last year, Muslims in Assam were able to sacrifice cows.
Ajmal’s appeal is redundant because the law prohibits cow slaughter in any part of Assam anyway.
His appeal is also not aimed at promoting religious harmony, but issued solely to prevent Muslims from being prosecuted under the Act.
Ajmal has made a virtue out of a necessity, but many innocently or with propaganda are lauding his gesture as an example of secularism.
What the Act says: The Act bans the sale or offer of beef or beef products in any area "predominantly inhabited" by Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, and other "non-beef-eating communities."
The ban is also within a 5-km radius of a mandir, satra (Vaishnavite religious institution), gurudwara, and place of worship or religious institution belonging to non-beef-eating communities.
The anti-cow slaughter legislation lays down stiff penalties for violations: jail terms ranging from three to eight years and fines from Rs 3 lakh to Rs 5 lakh.
All offences under the Act are cognisable and non-bailable. The Act prescribes double penalty — jail term and fine — for repeat offenders.
Assam CM's role: Himanta Biswa Sarma asserted that the bill would promote communal harmony. He cited crime statistics that the ban on cow slaughter can preclude clashes between the communities.
The Assam government is gearing up to apprehend and prosecute violators of the Act. So, some Muslims would have found themselves behind bars after sacrificing cows.
The state has been strict about detecting and punishing those who violate the law.
Bottom line: Sarma needs to be credited for the prevention of cow ‘sacrifice’ during Eid al-Adha this year. Ajmal’s appeal is redundant.
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