Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has shot off letters to his counterparts in other states asking them to "stand together" and "oppose" the Centre's ban on sale of cattle for slaughter and urge the Prime Minister to withdraw the new regulations. 

"Unless we stand together and oppose this anti-federal, anti-democratic and anti-secular move, it may mark the beginning of a series of similar measures aimed at destroying the federal democratic fabric and secular culture of our country. I would therefore fervently appeal to you to convey your objection to the new rules under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act to the Prime Minister, and to request him to withdraw the rules introduced without any consultation with the states," the Kerala CM said in the letter sent out to his counterparts on Monday.

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Pinarayi said that since the matters dealt within the rules squarely fall within the purview of state legislatures, the state governments should be allowed to formulate necessary policies and laws to suit the socio-cultural and economic milieu of the state. The rules impose several restrictions on cattle trade, which would have serious repercussions on the livelihood of millions of people, especially those in the agricultural sector, in the country. 

"It appears strange that the rules are promulgated under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 since they have nothing to do with the objects of the Act. Neither are the rules covered by the express delegation of legislative powers contained in the Act," the CM said.

Also read: 'Beef fests' held in Kerala, CM asks Modi to repeal order on cattle slaughter 

Pinarayi stressed it was nothing but a "covert attempt to usurp the powers of state legislatures" in the guise of rules under a Central Act. This "impermissible encroachment" into the domain of the state legislatures was a "clear violation of the spirit of federalism", which is one of the basic features of the constitution, the CM said. 

The rules, by imposing unreasonable restriction on the fundamental right to carry on any trade or occupation under Article 19 (1) (g) of the constitution, will not stand the test of constitutionality. They also violate the basic right of a person to have freedom of choice regarding his food, Pinarayi pointed out. 

(with PTI inputs)