NEW DELHI, Jun 5 :Beef is an integral part of people’s diet in North East India and the BJP, which leads the ruling coalition in Manipur, does not intend to dictate food choices to people, Chief Minister Biren Singh told ET on Sunday.
Cow vigilantism or violence in the name of checking beef consumption should be immediately stopped by State Governments and the offenders not let free to cause more havoc or spread misinformation, he said.
“Beef is very important here. All Christians eat it, most tribal communities, valley people eat beef. It is part of traditional diet now. Even the younger generation has taken to it now. The BJP is only trying to regulate the beef industry to avoid illegal slaughter for hygiene purposes,” the Chief Minister said.
Singh said that “the BJP will not violate people’s right to eat what they have been eating traditionally for many years.
“But more importantly issues of the North East are not beef but lack of development and misinformation by the mainland media. North East is like a heaven of tourism but mainland media chooses to ignore all that and takes up only non issues like beef,” he said.
The comments come at a time when the Central Government’s recent notification to ban the sale of cattle for slaughter in animal markets across the country has triggered considerable unease among several factions, including BJP members in Meghalaya and its ally in the North East, the National People’s Party.
On June 1, Bernard N. Marak, the BJP’s West Garo Hills district president, tendered his resignation from the party over the issue, saying, “Beef is part of our culture; we can’t do without it; I can’t go against the aspiration of the people of Garo Hills.” Several BJP workers in Shillong threatened to quit the party if the regulation on cattle slaughter is not revoked.
When asked about this, the Chief Minister said it was an unfortunate incident “Maybe some people are getting misled. They should read what the notification is all about and what it seeks to achieve,” he said.
Singh said the BJP will ensure that the sentiments of people in the North East are not offended. “That is the priority. This whole regulation is also important as it will clean up the system. But people can eat their food without any fear. No one will question that,” he said. In the North East, beef forms a staple diet for a cross-section of the population.
The BJP’s interest in this region has grown over the past few months as it has scored electoral victories in Assam and Manipur. Recently, the president of the party’s Manipur unit, Kshetrimayum Bhabananda Singh, was elected to the Rajya Sabha in the by-election held at the State Assembly. Four North Eastern States — Nagaland, Tripura, Mizoram and Meghalaya —will go to the polls next year.
The ban on sale of cattle for slaughter came into effect on Friday, after the Centre approved ‘Regulation of Livestock Markets Rules, 2017’, under the Prevention of Cruelties to Animal Act, 1960.
The regulation makes it mandatory for buyers and sellers to submit an undertaking to the animal marketing committee chief concerned, assuring the transaction is not being conducted with the end aim of slaughtering the cattle.
Source: Economic Times