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IN BRIEF

India Wants to Ban Slaughter of Cows

August 30, 2003|From Times Wire Reports

CALCUTTA — India's leather industry is worried about the ruling party's efforts to ban the slaughter of cows nationwide. The cow is sacred to most of India's Hindus, who make up 85% of the population.

Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, which heads the federal coalition, wants to ban cow slaughter. Last week, coalition partners forced postponement of such a bill, but the party plans another attempt.

Under India's secular constitution, only state governments can impose such bans, and few have done so. Most states do forbid the sale of beef except in big cities.

The nation includes 120 million Muslims and 20 million Christians. Leather exports are valued at $2 billion a year, and the industry employs about 2.5 million Indians.

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