Srinagar: In order to avert an imminent crisis in the PDP-BJP coalition government, J&K Assembly Speaker Kavinder Gupta is likely to disallow discussions on Bills moved by legislators of the Opposition seeking revocation of the 150-year-old beef ban law in the state.
“Assembly Speaker Kavinder Gupta is likely to disallow discussions on Bills moved by the NC, CPM state secretary and MLA Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami and Independent legislator Er Rashid to scrap the beef ban law,” sources in the PDP and BJP said.
Separate Bills have been moved in the Assembly to scrap Section 298-A and 298-B of the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) that criminalise the sale and consumption of beef in the state.
“He (Speaker) will not allow any discussion on the Bills citing that the case is subjudice,” sources said.
The J&K government approached the Supreme Court after the Srinagar and Jammu wings of the state High Court gave conflicting orders pertaining to the beef ban law.
The J&K High Court Jammu wing had on September 8 directed the state police chief to enforce a ban on the sale of beef in the state and take action against those defying the order. A week later, the Srinagar wing of the J&K High Court admitted a petition that sought the striking down of the provision of the RPC banning the slaughter of cows. During the joint meeting of party legislators on Friday evening, chaired by PDP patron and Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, it was decided that since the Supreme Court was hearing the case, it would not be appropriate for legislators to deliberate on the issue, sources in the PDP and BJP said.
“Our top priority is to effectively run the coalition government and usher in a new era of development in the state,” a source said. He added that the Speaker has been asked to deal with the sensitive issue.
When asked what the government’s stand on the beef ban law would be, they said the it favoured maintaining status quo. “We would like the situation to be as it is.”
Independent MLA Er Rashid on Saturday disrupted the proceedings of obituary references on the first day of the seven-day autumn session of J&K Assembly in Srinagar.
He held a placard that read ‘No interference in religious affairs’ and asked the Chief Minister, who was present in the House, to clarify his party’s stand on the beef ban issue.
The MLA attempted to storm into the Speaker’s podium, but was interrupted by marshals.
He, along with Tarigami and NC legislators, have reiterated that they would press for discussion of the Bills in the Legislative Assembly.
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