Were it just another politician of the country, people would have ignored or laughed at such a remark but when it is a sitting Chief Minister making a comment like this, there are reasons for rational voices to object.
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar kicked a hornet’s nest by saying that Muslims can continue to live in this country but they will have to give up eating beef.
The 61-year-old BJP leader was speaking on the beef controversy that has kept both the politicians and the intellectuals of the country preoccupied for over half a year now.
“Muslim rahein, magar is desh mein beef khaana chhodna hi hoga unko. Yahan ki manyata hai gau (Muslims can continue to live in this country but they will have to give up eating beef. The cow is an article of faith here),” Khattar was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.
“They can be Muslim even after they stop eating beef, can’t they? It is written nowhere that Muslims have to eat beef, nor is it written anywhere in Christianity that they have to eat beef.”
When asked about his views on the Dadri lynching incident, Khattar not only dismissed it as a “misunderstanding” but also put a part of the blame on the victims too.
“It should not have happened – from both sides.” According to Indian Express, Khattar claimed that the victim made a “halki tippani (loose comment) about the cow which hurt the sentiments of people who subsequently attacked him.
In his interview, Khattar almost tried to sympathise with the mob that lynched to death Mohammed Ikhlaq in Bisada village of western Uttar Pradesh.
He compared the Dadri lynching with the actions of a “man who sees his mother being killed or his sister getting molested, and his anger against the perpetrator getting the better of him”.
“We have to go behind the incident and examine his manyata. We have to understand why he did what he did,” he said.
He said the cow, the Gita and Saraswati were articles of faith for the majority in the country and Muslims would not violate their religious beliefs by giving up beef.
Khattar said that in even in a democracy freedoms have a limitation.
“Freedom of one person is only to the extent that it is not hurting another person. Eating beef hurts the sentiments of another community, even constitutionally you cannot do this. The Constitution says you cannot do something that offends me, I cannot do something that offends you,” he said.
Sensing the storm that he started, Khattar was quick to clarify himself.
If anyone has been hurt by my words, I am ready to apologise to them: Haryana CM ML Khattar on his statement on beef/Muslims
— ANI (@ANI_news) October 16, 2015
But Khattar’s comments has already given India’s twitterati a lot to talk about.
Leaders must choose words carefully or they do?Muslims can live in country but have to give up eating beef:Haryana CM|http://t.co/WHazVDeIuf
— Umong Sethi (@Rudraputr) October 16, 2015
Haryana CM Khattar should insist Government prints list of ‘Dos & Don’ts’ for Indian Citizens on citizenship documents. — Tushar Arun Gandhi (@TusharG) October 16, 2015
Goats can live in this country but they will have to start behaving like cows: Haryana CM — Sayantan Ghosh (@sayantansunnyg) October 16, 2015
If Haryana CM would have said “Politicians can stay in India but must give up Corruption” then India would be with him! — deepak pande (@deepakpande77) October 16, 2015