The religious leaders of all the worlds major religions have spoken out in a scathing attack on the Indian government’s plan to impose a religious ban on beef consumption.
They said it was a blatant violation of international standards and a direct assault on India’s national sovereignty.
The religious leaders, all of whom have condemned the proposed ban, have called it a “grave breach of the religious beliefs of the people of India”.
They are also calling for the ban to be stopped immediately.
“We are against a religious law that is a violation of the fundamental right of people to freedom of conscience and religion, of freedom of thought, and of speech, expression and assembly,” said the religious leaders.
“A ban that violates human rights and the right to life and liberty is a grave breach of human rights, and should be halted immediately,” they said.
“The prohibition of the consumption of beef is against the fundamental rights of all nations,” they added.
The religious heads of the Indian and Muslim communities are also raising concerns about the effect of the ban.
The religious head of the Jains, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Manoj Sinha, said in a statement that it was against the “national sovereignty” of India.
The ban, the head of which is the VHP, Manoj said, is “a grave breach” of the country’s “democratic process” and the country “must be defended against any aggression”.
He said that it would lead to an increase in violence against minorities, especially women and the mentally ill, and the creation of a new “permanent state of violence”.
“The ban has also a detrimental effect on India and the Muslims and Dalits, especially against them,” Sinha said.
“We urge the government to stop the ban immediately, and for all concerned to come forward with a solution to the problem.”
The ban was introduced in March, when a committee was formed to examine whether beef should be allowed in India.
However, a petition filed by the government in April, demanding that beef be banned for religious reasons, has stalled in the Supreme Court.
The head of VHP’s religious affairs, Manish Tewari, has also criticised the move, calling it a blatant attempt to “divide India”.
“I have not even heard of any proposal of banning beef.
The decision has been made by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party government.
The ban has no legitimacy, any proposal to ban beef is wrong, immoral and an insult to the dignity of the nation,” Tewaris statement said.
Earlier this month, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiyas Congress Party (BJP) government said that the ban would not affect beef production.
It was also not clear how the ban, which was introduced to curb a spike in beef consumption, would affect the industry.