Over 5,000 Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers in Meghalaya on Wednesday quit the party over the Centre's new rules that aim to prevent sale of cattle for slaughter.
BJP Youth Wing President of Tura city Wilver Greham Danggo, who was among those who resigned, said it was in protest against the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government's attempt to "suppress the tribal and other communities who consume beef".
Danggo said five BJP mandal committees have been dissolved and over 5,000 youth workers had resigned from the party.
"We cannot play with the sentiments of our own people who trust us and we don't mix politics with religion as the BJP is doing. Any party or individual that hurts the sentiments of our people will be against us… we will protect our tribal land," he said.
Two senior BJP leader in Meghalaya, Bachu Marak and Bernard Marak, have also quit the party.
Last week, some BJP leaders in the state threatened to quit if the central government did not repeal the new cattle trade rules.
"Most party leaders in Meghalaya are not happy with the new rules which are directly affecting our people," BJP Vice President John Antonius Lyngdoh said.
"We cannot accept the new rules on cattle trade. We cannot go against our food habits; besides, the economic interests of people dealing in cattle trade and slaughter are put in jeopardy," he said.