Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has advised Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to "find better causes for a federal unity", rather than organising a meeting of chief ministers to discuss the Centre's ban on sale of cattle at animal markets for slaughter. 

Pinarayi has written to his counterparts in other states, appealing them to stand together in opposing the "anti-federal" move of the Centre. 

"It is entirely his (Pinarayi's) call. I can only gently remind him that he can find better causes for a federal unity," Prasad said in response to a query about the Kerala CM's move. 

Also read: Slaughter ban: Kerala to convene meeting of all CMs

The senior BJP leader rejected allegations that the NDA government brought the notification to impose restrictions on the eating habits of the people.

Raking up the issue of "political violence" in Kerala, Prasad said, "When Pinarayi calls for a federal unity, he and his party must also allow our workers to work freely in the state. 

"It is good if he is talking about freedom. But the BJP-RSS cadres are being attacked in Kerala. How does it gel with the state's great open culture?" the minister wondered, adding that the southern state was always "open to new ideas". 

Also read: 'Kerala does not need food lessons from Delhi, Nagpur': Pinarayi

Reminding Pinarayi that Kerala was the first state in the country to elect a Communist government led by EMS Namboodiripad, Prasad said if that reflected the openness of Kerala and its people, then they should also be given the "liberty to experiment" with the BJP. "Whether the party gets acceptance or not is a call of the people," he added. 

The Union law minister said protection of cow was a "fundamental obligation" of the people of the country and the Centre's notification only said that the cattle markets would not be a place for purchasing the animals for slaughter. 

"It does not say that you can not purchase cattle from a farm. The recognised cattle markets shall not be used for the purpose (slaughtering). There is no restriction as far as eating habits are concerned. I do not buy the logic that slaughtering can be done only by purchasing the cattle from the markets," he said. 

Prasad added that conventionally, cattle markets were used for the exchange of bull or oxen for cultivation. "That has been the norm," he said.

(with agency inputs)