TN: DMK-led Municipality Refuses to Lift Ban on Beef Sale at Weekly Market
Photo: Protestors outside the Puliyampatti municipality office. Image courtesy: Theekkathir
Chennai: A ban on beef sales was imposed in Puliyampatti municipality’s weekly market in Erode district in November 2022. Despite repeated protests from meat sellers, the ban was not lifted.
Thirteen families have been selling beef for over 50 years in the weekly market hosted by the municipality, but the stalls were removed without prior warning on November 22, 2022. The families belong to Scheduled Caste and minority communities.
Despite several rounds of protests and memorandum submissions by the respective vendors, “no action was taken by the civic administration,” said U K Sivanganam, Tamil Nadu Untouchability Eradication Front (TNUEF) state committee member.
The ban was initiated by citing sanitation and health concerns. The TNUEF memorandum dated February 9 reads: “The issue was first raised in ward sabha meetings stating that meat sellers leave behind meat waste and bones, and dogs clamp them and take it to the nearby houses”.
“If cleanliness is really the concern, it should be addressed. A ban cannot be a solution for the same,” said Sivagnanam.
“The sale of other meat, such as mutton and chicken, is going on as usual. The attack is only on beef. We can only assume this as an imposition of the Hindutva mindset,” he said.
“The municipal Chairman and Vice Chairman from the state’s ruling party Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam are behind the ban,” he added. The representatives are T Janardanan (Chairman) and P A Chidambaram (Vice-Chairman); they were elected to the Puliyampatti municipality in March 2022.
The vendors held a round of protests in January 2023, demanding permission to resume stalls in the same spot in the weekly market. The municipality made promises to look into the matter but took no actual initiative.
Following the wait, a protest call was given by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and TNUEF for February 9. Around 300 people began a demonstration outside the municipality office that turned into a day-long sit-in gherao.
After two rounds of negotiations, the municipal commissioner promised to send a report to the state government regarding the matter and use his powers to pass a resolution to build a permanent slaughterhouse.
The TNUEF is meanwhile demanding a makeshift place for beef slaughter and sale as a relief for the 13 families that have lost their livelihoods and to ensure they face no further loss of income.
“We will wait another week to see what efforts the administration makes. If we see no progress, as a form of protest, the vendors will sell beef in the weekly market as before,” said Sivagnanam.
The TNUEF also submitted a memorandum to A Raja, DMK leader and MP from Nilgiris parliamentary constituency, under which Puliyampatti falls. “He said he will look into the matter,” added Sivagnanam.
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