Vigilante violence in north India is choking cattle trade in West Bengal’s weekly

It is Friday afternoon and Abdul Rahaman is getting ready for the weekly cattle market that his family has conducted for 135 years. The 45-year-old oversees the preparation from a tiny office room on the edge of a 42 acre field in Illambazar, Birbhum district. A bright 2019 calendar on the wall contrasts the peeling paint in the office room, which also has two mobile phones on an old table. The clean-shaven and stocky Rahaman sits on a rickety chair before explaining how his business works. 

Farmers and traders from West Bengal and neighbouring states flock to the field every Saturday to buy or sell cattle. Rahaman’s family earns a commission of Rs 20-100 from each buyer. Around Rs 20,000 comes in a week these days, he says, adding that profits have been 40-50% lower since 2016. “Even though the cattle trade rules in Bengal are liberal, the mood across north India has severely hit the movement of cattle in this region,” he says, referring to the violent action of vigilante cow protection groups that have struck terror in the hearts of cattle traders. 

Rural families usually rear cows for years but sell them off when a family exigency demands additional funds. In some cases, old animals that cannot work in the fields are also brought here, explains Rahaman. People buy cows for different reasons, including to plough fields, for milk or for slaughterhouses.....Read more


Source web page: Economic times





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