KUMULI, India — “This is my son, he is my future,” said Sajid Hussain, who was the youngest member of a group of protesters at a rally in the heart of Hyderabad on Monday against the state’s move to ban the wearing of cow hides.
“My son is not afraid.
He is a proud and proud man,” he said.
The rally, organized by the Muslim League (ML) to protest the introduction of cow-killing laws in the southern state of Karnataka, was organised by the Mahila Kala Yatra movement, which calls for a ban on cow slaughter.
Demonstrators had gathered at the Indian Consulate in Kumbh Mela and marched through the streets, demanding that the government implement the law.
They also called for a rally at the Mahilangarh Stadium, the site of the Karnataka state football tournament, to demand the removal of the cow-killer law.
Sajid, 18, a second-year engineering student, said he was one of the few students in the city who attended the rally, which began at 6 a.m. local time (1 p.m., EDT).
The rally began with a call to ban cow slaughter, but quickly turned to a call for a boycott of the state government, as well as an online campaign against the law, said Mohammad Akhter, the group’s leader.
After an hour of speeches by protesters and a protest march, a group belonging to the Muslim Association of Karnashala met a group led by Akhmet and other leaders to discuss the rally’s progress.
Akhmet, who is from Jammu, was later identified by police as the organizer of the rally.
The police were called in after the rally organizers were called, but the protesters refused to disperse, said Rajesh Kumar, a police official.
Akhmod told The Times he had invited the police to monitor the protest, and the group was given permission to stay at the protest site.
The protesters are believed to be affiliated with the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a political party that has been pushing for the introduction and regulation of cow slaughter laws.
The party has also called on Karnataka to remove the state from the Union of India.
The Muslim League, which has a majority in Karnataka’s parliament, has been leading the charge against the government’s move, which it said violates the country’s religious values.
A bill to implement the ban is being debated in the state legislature.
The state government is considering amendments to the law to allow for a private, voluntary slaughter of cows, which would help protect the environment, but some legislators are opposed.
The government has said that it wants to make cow-skewing laws mandatory in order to curb the spread of cow vigilantism and promote conservation.
The government says it will introduce the ban on the first day of September, but activists say it could take longer.
The law is also being contested by groups of Muslim students who say it discriminates against women and has the potential to create a backlash.
A rally in September at the state parliament in the capital of the northern state of Tamil Nadu to demand a ban has been marred by clashes with police.
In an earlier rally in August, some 300 people held a demonstration in front of the legislature in the northern city of Visakhapatnam against the introduction.
Police fired tear gas at the protesters, who threw stones and set ablaze a police van.