Indian State Imposes Ban On Sale And Possession Of Beef, Punishable By Prison Time

The western Indian state of Maharashtra, a region that includes Mumbai, has banned the sale and possession of beef as of Monday, March 2. 

Defiance of the ban, introduced as an amendment to the 1972 Maharashtra Animal Preservation bill, which prohibits the slaughter of cows, bulls, bullocks and calves, is punishable by fines of 10,000 rupees (approximately $160 USD) and up to five years in prison, reports The New York Times.

Maharashtra is the latest state to join the ban of cow slaughter and consumption already practiced by most of the country. The majority of India practices Hinduism, which dictates that cows are treated as sacred creatures.

Narendra Modi, the country's current Prime Minister, is a leading member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) — a Hindu nationalist group and the state's ruling party — which has long fought for the ban.

Meanwhile, the region's restauranteurs and business owners expect the ban to eliminate jobs and disrupt the local economy, raising the price of other meats. Beef traders who work within the state have also complained of harassment from right-wing Hindus before the ban.

The BJP has pledged to continue to "crack down on beef imports" and "review the subsidy the government gives for beef or buffalo meat exports," according to Reuters