The last few weeks have witnessed a ban on the slaughter and possession of bulls, bullocks and calves, in addition to cows, in Maharashtra and then in Haryana. The BJP, in power in both these states as well as the centre, has argued that they have agreed to a long-standing demand from various sections of society. In this article published in EPW in 1979, economist K N Raj analyses the demand of Vinoba Bhave for banning cow slaughter in West Bengal and Kerala—a debate that is continuing even today.
Abstract of the article: Vinoba Bhave's demand for banning cow slaughter in Kerala and West Bengal and his fast for gain-ing its acceptance raise three sets of issues; (a) the constitutional and legal basis of the demand, (b) its economic rationale, and (c) the political implications and possible consequences. This note examines these issues.