The Indian authorities issued a decision prohibiting Muslims in the part of Kashmir under its control from slaughtering sacrifices during the blessed Eid al-Adha, considering this ritual an “unlawful killing”. In a letter addressed to the police chief of Kashmir, where Muslims make up 97%, the Animal Husbandry Department asked to stop the “unlawful slaughter” of cows, calves, camels, and other animals, as well as take legal action against those who transport these animals and “violate the rules during Eid days”.
Cows are sacred in Hindu-majority India, and slaughtering or eating beef is illegal or prohibited in most parts of the country.
Despite the ban on cow slaughter in Kashmir, beef is widely available in most Muslim-majority areas, sold by hundreds of shops, and the vast majority of Kashmiri Muslims slaughter sheep or goats for Eid.
Eid al-Adha begins in India this year on 21 July and ends on the 23rd of the same month.
The decision to ban sacrificial animals is seen as directed and aimed at calming the feelings of Hindus in the region, who represent a minority.
The United Business Councils League – a political alliance comprising several Pakistani Islamist parties in the province – criticized the government order as “arbitrary” and “unacceptable”.
The association called on the Indian government to repeal the “discriminatory order” immediately. The association said in a statement that “sacrificing permissible animals, including cows” on Eid al-Adha is an “important religious ritual on this day.”
The two rival nuclear neighbors claim sovereignty over the entire territory.
What worries Kashmiri Muslims is that the populist Hindu government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has begun changing the demographics and identity of Kashmir after being stripped of its autonomy privilege in 2019 and turned into a regular state in India.