In comments set to embarrass the Narendra Modi government days before it completes a year in office, Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Thursday said "those who cannot survive without eating beef, should go to Pakistan."
Naqvi, who is the Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs, was responding to India Today Group consulting editor Rajdeep Sardesai when asked what his government was doing to assure minorities that the government was concerned about their welfare.
"If a certain section is dying because they can't sell or eat beef then this is not the country for them. Let them go to Pakistan or an Arab nation," Naqvi said.
On being asked to clarify if he's asking people who trade and eat beef all over the country, specially in North East states, Goa and Kerala to leave the country, Naqvi said: "I am just saying that beef will not be allowed in this country if you can't live without it."
Also present at the panel was AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi who immediately questioned the minister if he was indeed asking his Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar to leave the country after he had assured Goans that beef would not be banned come what may.
"As the CM, I have to take care of all people in the state including its 38 per cent minorities. Christians account for 30 per cent of the population while the remaining are from the Muslim community. It is not like they started consuming beef recently; this has always been part of their daily cuisine. How can I ban it?... as the CM of Goa, I can state that Goa will never ban beef," Parsekar had told Indian Express days after Maharashtra banned beef consumption in the state.
But Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh asserted that the government will work towards a complete ban. "Cow slaughter cannot be allowed in this country," Singh said in March this year, adding "we will use all our might to ban it. We will try to build a consensus." Interestingly, India is the second largest exporter of beef and the fifth biggest consumer.
Last month, BJP president Amit Shah was welcomed in Meghalaya with a beef party in protest against the party's supposed to move to enforce a complete ban on beef across the nation.
Leaders of the Thma U Rangli Juki, the Hynniewtrep National People's Front (HNPF) and the Khasi National Union (KNU) organised the beef party near the BJP office in Shillong as Shah arrived to address party workers and to hold meeting with regional political parties.
Soon after the protest, BJP leader Ram Madhav said there was no proposal to ban beef in the North East given its 'demographic structure'. "In some states, ban on cow slaughter has been there for several decades now. In a number of states, it is not there, including all the states of the northeast, because of the demographic situation here," Madhav said.
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Updated Date: May 22, 2015 07:23:46 IST