The ban on possession and sale of beef was opposed by Mumbai restaurants, and some retailers say it will cost jobs and raise prices of other meats.
MUMBAI, India — The western state of Maharashtra this week became the first Indian state to ban the possession and sale of beef, imposing fines and up to five years in prison for violations.
The ban, which was passed Monday, came as an amendment to a 1972 law prohibiting the slaughter of cows, which languished for two decades under a governing coalition between the Indian National Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party after initial passage in 1995.
The Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party won state elections last October, after Narendra Modi, the party’s leader, took office as prime minister in May.
The ban was opposed by Mumbai’s restaurants, and some retailers warned it would eliminate jobs and send the price of other meats spiraling upward.
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Protection of cows is a volatile topic in India, where the animal is revered by the majority-Hindu population. As India’s beef trade is largely controlled by Muslim traders, the issue has become a point of contention.
The slaughter of water buffaloes will still be allowed under the new law. India is a top exporter of meat from buffaloes, which are more common and less revered in India than cows.