23 October, 2020

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Politics Of MR’s Cattle Slaughter Ban

By Ameer Ali

Dr. Ameer Ali

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s announcement to ban cattle slaughter is yet another measure to please Sinhala Buddhist hardliners who were the backbone of his party’s victory at the last General Election. They were also responsible for President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s win in his race for presidency. If the proposed constitutional changes were to go through the parliament unchallenged, they will make vegetarian GR local Fuhrer (the original Fuhrer in Germany was also a vegetarian), parliament reduced to a “post office” and Prime Minister to a “peon”, while at the same time ensuring the Rajapaksa dynasty prolonged hold on Sri Lanka’s heirloom. One of the foundations on which Rajapaksa regime will build its power house is Buddhism, and that too of the hardline variety championed by a politicized hierocracy that is bent on establishing a Theravada Buddhist state, governed by the dictum, one-country-one-law (OCOL). They are not satisfied with the current constitution’s provision for the “foremost place” to Buddhism, and they want to go beyond that by using OCOL as the weapon.

MR’s announcement to ban cow slaughter to satisfy the hardliners is the first political expression of OCOL. This decision is far from a total commitment to Lord Buddha’s teaching, not to kill. It was only a few years ago in 2013, that one of these hardline monks, Bowatte Indraratana, self-immolated in front of Dalada Maligawa to advance the cause of cows. This unfortunate priest, like Prime Minister MR, has narrowed the implementation of Lord Buddha’s teaching to just one group of animals. What about the others including birds? However, this is not to ignore or excuse the horror afflicted upon this poor animal by greedy and cruel slaughterers. If anyone watches the way these animals are dragged and tortured on the way to abattoirs (I would urge beef eaters to watch a documentary produced for the Four Corners program in Australian ABC television) one would just give up eating beef even without a law preventing that habit. Even if the ban is withdrawn, this industry requires serious and far reaching reforms to regain an element of respectability from the wider community.

Apart from the economics of Sri Lanka’s beef industry, about which several writers have commented and warned of losses to cattle breeders, excess burden on grazing lands and pasture, and overall damage to national economy, I am focusing on the political implications of this decision, both locally as well as regionally. Locally, in spite of MR’s denial there is no doubt that the ban will affect the Muslim community directly. Majority of the country’s beef eaters and beef suppliers are Muslims, and thousands will be thrown out of employment when the ban comes into effect. Already, this community is traumatized through repeated shocks of violence, especially after 2009. A mélange of extremist elements of which one or two have external links, encouraged by a bunch supremacist Buddhist monks, funded by a jealous Sinhala-Buddhist business class, popularized by sections of the media and tolerated by law enforcers with vested interest, rampaged through towns and bazaars looting Muslim commercial establishments, burning and vandalizing Muslim properties, causing physical injuries and even deaths. The fact that an ineffective and selfish Muslim leadership stood aside without knowing what to do stunned the community at large. 

However, after the Easter Bombing incident of April 2019 anti-Muslim feelings reached fever pitch, and sadly, law enforcement agencies intervened only minimally at best to stop the mayhem. It is in such a climate of shock and horror that MR’s announcement, if implemented, is bound to cause further distress to this community and may worsen an already damaged Sinhalese-Muslim friendship built over a millennium. This writer has already discussed Muslim’s own contribution to this turn of events in previous contributions to this journal. Meanwhile, far-right Hindus are also ready to back MR, because unlike Buddhist supremacists Hindus worship the cow and practice vegetarianism. With all the differences and controversies surrounding the politics of power sharing between Hindu Tamils and Buddhist Sinhalese remaining unresolved, the struggle to protect cows has created an unexpected alliance of convenience between the two.  If MR is committed to the ban, he may well be advised at least to discuss directly with Muslim beef suppliers and not with Muslim politicians and ACJU, the issues concerning local beef industry and explore the possibilities of providing alternative sources of income to this affected class. 

MR’s announcement not only panders to the cravings of domestic Sinhala Buddhist hardliners, but also sends across Palk Strait a conciliatory message to his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi. Modi will be delighted to hear this announcement, not because it protects the cows, but because it is going to hit Muslims. Modi’s Hindutva revels on the sufferings of Indian Muslims, and his political survival is tied to deliberate victimization of that huge community. The more acute Indian Muslims suffer, greater are the chances for Hindutva and Modi to win elections. 

Be that aside, both GR and MR know that the proposed constitutional amendments are intended to bury the Indian inspired amendment 13, which aims at resolving the Tamil issue through power sharing via Provincial Councils. When GR visited Delhi soon after his victory, Modi insisted on that amendment’s implementation and GR quite adroitly agreed in order to receive financial assistance from India.  No sooner GR returned home he reneged on the promise by saying that the majority would not agree. Didn’t he know that before he left for Delhi? Now that he has decided to remove that amendment altogether, he needs to mollify Modi and strengthen Indo-Lanka economic relations. Given the perilous state of Sri Lanka’s economy Indian economic assistance becomes imperative. Given this desperation MR’s cow slaughter ban, though of not great significance to India, sends a friendly message and draws Rajapaksa regime a little closer to Delhi.  With this ban MR is hitting two birds with one stone: local Buddhist hardliners and Modi’s government. 

Finally, cow slaughter ban, as mentioned earlier, is the first arrow from the OCOL bow. Its target are the Muslims? Will the next arrow target the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act? 

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Latest comments

  • 26
    5

    When Mahinda was in Madamulana as the Ex-President, he was invited by his best friend an “Indian Spent Force Politician” Subramaniam Swami to give a speech at a Hindutva meeting. This was described by the “kade yana medias” in Sri Lanka as a speech in an event organized by BJP. This was the beginning of the Hindutva movement entering Sri Lanka through the back door. Since then Mahinda ( people say he is very sick and can be true by observing his walk) is now looking for salvation for all the negative impact of karma he has collected in this life. Hindutva is a fundamentalist angle of Hinduism and is practiced by Narendra Modi and now Mahinda is trying to get closer to Modi by being part of Hindutva in Sri Lanka. I wonder why the Cardinal and the Buddhist Monks who are with Mahinda for “santhosams” they get do not see this yet.

    • 15
      2

      Let s ban the cattle slaughter.
      .
      But they will promote human slaughter in order to reduce the increasing crime incidents.

      Why cant the latter be thinkable with GOTABAYA being the incumbent president ? By 2015, google searches compared Rajapakshe politics with that of Gadafi/Idiamin/or the like minded cruel leaders. remember ?

      • 1
        2

        Mr. Leela ge …..
        .
        This is for your information.
        .
        https://youtu.be/A_Yt454qnBs
        .
        Hope you are educated enough to understand.

      • 3
        2

        Idi Amin, the greatest African hero of all times. He stood up to the Indian Empire and Indian Colonial Parasites.

  • 16
    2

    As an animal lover, I welcome a ban on the slaughter of cattle but isn’t it a half baked, impractical & irrational policy, just to please the ignorant Buddhist vote base of the current regime? Aren’t the same Buddhists who are passionate about the ban not concerned of the slaughter of other living creatures, usually inhumanely, for human consumption? On the same note, I understand the govt. has been issuing fire arms for villagers to protect themselves & their crops from elephants but isn’t the root cause due to the natural habitat of these wild animal being reduced by the expansion of border villagers & hotel developments in wild life sanctuaries? So it is OK for villagers to kill wild animals that threaten their livelihoods & while at it, maybe, a deer, wild boar or even a rabbit for the pot? Are we ignorant, stupid or plain hypocrites?

    A ban on alcohol in the 1920s US didn’t work but made gangsters & illicit brewers of hooch rich, similarly, a ban on beef in SL will create a new generation of rich butchers supplying for the demand, legally or illegally.

    cont.

    • 2
      1

      If they would ban CATTLE SLAUGHTER, they should also ban killing fish. As real buddhists they should treat all animals equally. Their Panathipatha weramanii will not be real – so is the case with srilanken law and order.
      :
      Srilanken fish/meat sellers should import their fish/meat for the consumption of those who cant be without meat. ‘Neigbhoring indians will be happy since they can go fishing also in srilanken territories. Rajakshe supporters could become rich importers as was the case with some hazardous agro chemicals, that were imported into the country irrespective of the bans in developed countries. Glyphosat became indispensible to local farmers, through Rajapkshe illegal trades.

      Rajapakshes proved to the very same STUPID people that they cant be without meat/fish/alcohol/drugs – in their recent weddings of the 3 bastards sons. Even if these weddings were on the cost of the tax payers funds, not many would be aware of it yet today.
      :
      Srilanka media is to be blamed for continuance of their biased reporting.

  • 7
    1

    cont.

    Many of my SL Buddhist friend are carnivore but some refrain from eating beef. There are many personal opinions on the subject & Buddhism does not specifically condone eating meat, apart from the liberal interpretation of ‘thou shall not kill’ precept. The world will not be vegetarian & it will be a personal choice but we can stand up to animal cruelty & the unnecessary suffering at the hands of the slaughterers. In UK, fox hunting & hunting with dogs, a traditional past time of the royals & nobility, was banned under a Labour Govt. but grouse shooting remains to be ‘enjoyed’ by the Royal family as a total ban on hunting is not possible. The RSPCA, as well as, animal rights groups have successfully lobbied for better conditions for farm animals & humane treatment, which is even supported by some leading supermarkets. UK even banned the export of live animals to the middle East. For economic & other reasons, we cannot ban killing of animals but we certainly can prevent animal cruelty, which should be the Govt. stand with education & appropriate legislation & enforcement.

  • 8
    1

    Do Fish and aquatic animals causing them to suffer more than the cow there is no human handling but we see it takes Longer time than cow footage reveals fish suffocating to death. Indian will start to export after plunging, the Indian buffalo meat demand from Africa, Middle East and South East Asian countries is showing its first sign of revival.

    • 2
      2

      One issue at a time. Whatever the reason it may be, this is a good move, if enacted. Furthermore, eventually, the import of beef also should be banned. Goats, pigs, turkeys, chicken, fish, etc., you bring out a good point. I presume they will get to them eventually………… Why do we need animal protein in this day and age?

  • 11
    2

    Great analysis by Dr Ameer Ali. Brings out the mendacity and chicanery of the brothers Royal well.

    Give these undeniably evil siblings credit for their smarts, but oh, if only they used this for the benefit of, and to uplift the economic, spiritual and intellectual well-being of the people.

    In contrast, Ranil and Sillysena are like babes in the wood, and veritable putty in the hands of these scoundrels.

    However, all things shall pass, even this terrible spell of evil – we can only cling to this, our only hope.

  • 9
    1

    Animals slaughtered for food is terrible to see. Yet their meat is good for us. Its protein is good for our physique and cognition. Rugger players e.g., need that protein from beef for the rigors of the sport. Far worse than killing cattle, is the killing of pigs because of the gore. Nowadays, they stun or gas the animals so they feel no pain. That should be considered.
    *
    But we can’t use Indian-Hindu culture of cows being their goddesses, to dictate our long-standing culture, where even our Veddas ate meat.
    *
    And certainly meat consumption should be reduced to traditional levels, and not to the America beef-eater culture that came out of vast desert ranches and now factory farms; where Americans eat more and more beef to keep the monetary stocks on beef ever growing.

    • 3
      1

      And aren’t pigs pretty intelligent animals? More so than cattle, anyway.
      .
      Which means way more intelligent than these politicians who are such a nuisance to us. But then, I’ve forgotten this one. Please see, although it’s in Sinhala – 26 minutes. Reall intelligent, the way she maneuvres out of traps laid by the interviewer.
      .
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8o4uNjiZXGE
      .

      • 2
        1

        I think you are born Christian right ? You should be well aware of this long ago. Not beef, Christians prefer pork. I know this from Germans ( majority of them are catholic/anglicans).

        And in today s srilanka, so called buddhagama monks would not be happy if their dana would not contain fish or meat. Most of them are meat ( I intentionally avoid calling them buddhist monks) and their followers would go on talking high about not harming even a mosquito/ a house fly.

        Rajapakshe the man who has issued about ” ban of cattle slaughter” – is said to have imported ARGENTINIAN BEEF for all his grand weddings (of 3 sons), though on the costs of tax payers funds/or of the loot.

        Mervin silva- one of the front man of MR bullock cart (from 2005-2015) revealed a lot about hidden stories/untold stories, specially their eating and drinking patterns, the manner how RAJAPAKSHES eat – he went on saying, even for breakfast table, they cant be without ” watukurulu biththara – small eggs from small fowls being found in the country side of srilanka). Their looks prove everything how much of fat they shoul dhave consumed over the years. MR himself seems to be dificult to walk a 100 m distance today.

        • 0
          1

          Dear LM,
          .
          Germany can’t have many “Anglicans”. You probably mean “Lutherans”. That comes from Martin Luther.
          .
          Most readers would have heard of “Rev. Martin Luther King”, the American Civil leader who was assassinated. He would have been named after the guy who nailed the Papal Bull to a tree, and later participated in the Diet of Worms.
          .
          All those things will have Wikipedia articles. I hope that you’re beginning to realise that we “Godayas” and Baiyas” are more foolish than the cattle we seem to be discussing.

      • 4
        0

        Yes thank you . I am very intelligent . Please do not slaughter my friends and relatives but keep them as pets. We make very good pets

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpA2Y31VL8g

  • 1
    3

    Seven comments displayed so far, and I’m honoured to be in the company of Buddhist1, leelagemalli, Raj-UK,, and RTF (just joined) all definitely Sinhalese who are not racists. RTF, when teaching those who want to migrate to developed countries, I tell these young people that jobs are not easy to find – except one – being a butcher.
    .
    I’m not sure of the identity of RBH59 (that’s the problem with your pseudonym – it doesn’t stay in the mind. The way Easton Scott does.)
    .
    I rather fear that not many (including author, Dr Ameer Ali?) may have seen this good article, and the somewhat crazy comments here:
    .
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-long-overdue-animal-welfare-bill/
    .
    RBH59, you had a comment there – which I paraphrased. You’ve got to pay more attention to punctuation. (leelagemalli sometimes flatters me by accepting me as a “Gambada iskole-mahattaya” who has never been out of Asia.)

    • 1
      1

      Game iskola mahaththaya was the frequent term being used to call my paternal grand father. And you yourself added it once in your previous comment that you are ” Game iskola mahaththaya”. Anways, I love to call you so, because your comments are among my favourites. No matter you have not lived out of asian continent but your thoughts and minds are not racial at all. That is rare in srilanken culture, specially in your age groups. Those seniors that keep away from commenting could share you the truth. They should raise the question loudly as they can, why they behave further racial. Is that because of lack of information or not being able to see it right the way our ULTRA RACIST – Eagle Eye proves it as no other ? Or you may be aware of the true picture of the society.
      :
      Looking back, I now feel our sinhalayas are multiple times racial than the jewish people that continue their racial acts in Israel. Sinhalayas in general are even more racial than the right radicalists in east german provinces such as Thuringen/Sachsen. What do you make of this Mr SM ? Did not you notice this in your days at Peradeniya ?

  • 1
    0

    PART TWO
    .
    Which reminds me
    that in the Omani Jebel village of Morri, I was invited to a wedding feast (morning to afternoon, with two meals thrown in). I fled, and had no meal. You see, there was this large bull tethered there, brought from the Salalah area of “Green Oman”. The bull was deftly thrown to the ground; ropes and a sharp knife appeared, and all the audience moved to the best possible vantage points for viewing. I fled. I couldn’t possibly behold the live bull and then consume the fellow. Call me a hypocrite if you must!
    .
    I can’t eat beef now, I start itching. But pork is fine – I’m not from the coastal areas where they relish it so much, but I like it.
    .
    A regular breakfast for me is eggs fried with bacon ends (I’m too poor to purchase “back bacon” or even “streaky bacon”). Bacon ends are very cheap, but one has to rummage for them. Which reminds me of the time that some packets fell out of the front-opening freezer in the local Super-market (which I reliably understand manufactures the stuff without doing any nasty killing).

  • 1
    1

    PART THREE
    .
    Well, I hurriedly picked up
    two packets, but a pretty girl (who was passing by) picked up a third to help me. I thanked her, obviously, but added – “You, how did you bring yourself to do that? You, a Muslim” (the clothes were clear on that point). She said, “Well, it’s a clean packet, so it was all right touching it. It is eating that I’m not supposed to do.”
    .
    I congratulated her for her intelligence and goodness and told her that if all Muslims were like her, the Islamic community in this country would have fewer problems.
    .
    Dr Ali, I must take you to task on one thing; I know that there are some Muslims who are close to being vegetarians. You may be able to tell us whether there actually are a few vegan Muslims in the world. I’m certain that many a butcher gets quite indifferent to the suffering of the animals after many years of the work. However, I know that many Muslims sacrifice a goat with feelings of nausea, while others never do.
    .
    No easy answers to some issues.

  • 2
    0

    Can the world goverment identify that the that bullfighting is a culteral heritage that Bow & Arrow Game is a mastering archery bullfighting in popularity. Almost every town during local festivals in some countries, is not a cruel practice but still happening, which cause suffering and aim at killing every one happy watching the game.

  • 0
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

    For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

    • 1
      0

      Sinhala_Man – what happened? unlike of you?

      • 0
        1

        Dear Rajash,
        .
        Thanks for the comforting words.
        .
        I’m sure that the moderator must have acted sensibly. If not, let me pray.
        .
        “Father forgive him for he knew not what he did”.
        .
        Amen

  • 5
    0

    Killing a cow is less of a sin than killing 1,000,000 sprats to feed the same number of people. All lives are equal.

    • 2
      1

      GATAM

      “All lives are equal.”

      Are you being serious?

    • 1
      0

      The fishermen don’t kill the sprat/fish – they die naturally when taken out of water.

      where as crabs/lobsters are also killed.

      But cows/chicken/goat/pig etc are killed and slaughtered cruelly- you can see the fear in the animals eyes when they are killed

    • 0
      0

      If you look here, GATAM, you will see that Dr Michael Ratnarajan Richard Hoole, PhD also makes the same observation.
      .
      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-long-overdue-animal-welfare-bill/
      .
      I hope that Don (below) understands that Rajan’s PhD was for Mathematics and from the place abbreviated as Oxen. They are equal, he says. With PhDs?

      .

  • 1
    0

    Why did not SLPP made this part of their election campaign.

    Beef eating has been a part of the Sinhalese cuisine. That is why some Sinhalese kings banned cow killing so as to increase the herd.

    Buddhism does not ban eating meat of killing. It is that laymen have to Panathi Paathaa ( wish for life ).

  • 2
    0

    If you eat 100 sprats or 20 prawns, you have to count the number of lives, killing one bull for 1000 people, less sin according to mathematics also you have the tastiest meat in the world.

    • 0
      0

      killing one bull for 1000 people ?

      only the meat around leg and shoulder is consumable. The rest are processes for sausages , pies etc.

      so not sure from where you got the idea of “one bull for 1,000 people “

  • 0
    0

    There would be no ban on the slaughter of Democracy, Rule of Law after the 20th Amendment.

    • 0
      0

      Democratic Parliament has been turned in to a slaughter house.
      SLPP Butchers are slaughtering the Democracy.

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