It should be recalled that Meghlaya, Nagaland and Mizoram are Christian-dominated states.
New Delhi: The Centre’s proposed cattle slaughter ban is not merely being opposed by non-BJP states, which include Kerala and West Bengal, but is also creating ripples within the BJP, particularly in the Northeast. On Thursday, Bernard N. Marak, former West Garo Hills district president of the BJP, quit the party over the proposed ban.
Speaking to the media in Meghalaya, Mr Marak said: “I quit the party as the BJP is trying to impose their ideology on us.” He questioned the Centre’s reported move to “impose a ban on consumption of beef”.
BJP leader Nalin Kohli, who is in charge of the party’s affairs in Meghalaya, while speaking to this newspaper, refused to give any importance to Mr Marak’s decision to quit the party and tried to indicate that he was already under the party’s scanner for “non-performance”. He said Mr Marak was “anyway on his way out... and is now trying to make the cow slaughter ban an emotive issue”. Mr Kohli asserted that the BJP “will not tolerate any members who, for their personal political gain, digress from Modiji’s agenda of development for all”.
In northeastern states like Meghalaya, Nagaland and Mizoram and for a section of the population in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, it is fairly common to eat beef. It should be recalled that Meghlaya, Nagaland and Mizoram are Christian-dominated states.
Mr Kohli also said the BJP had categorically spelt out that the “question of having a law in a state on cow slaughter is to be decided by the state, and not by the Centre”. Indicating that the BJP-led government had no intention of imposing the law on the states, Mr Kohli said: “Every state government that decides to have a law or not have a law on cow slaughter... do so keeping in mind local food habits of that particular state. In the Northeast, every state government will take this into account.” He then added: “The notification has nothing on cow slaughter and beef ban. Any state can decide on this and we fully respect the federal structure.”
With states like West Bengal and Kerala rejecting the proposed ban and trouble brewing in Tamil Nadu as well, some in the BJP are wondering whether to continue pushing for a ban or to “simply exempt buffaloes”.
However, BJP president Amit Shah, who will visit Kerala on Friday, is expected to raise the issue of public slaughter of a calf by Youth Congress workers. A senior party leader said: “The BJP will not give up the issue of banning cow slaughter as a majority of Hindus regard the cow as sacred and holy.”