Union ministers Kiren Rijiju and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi have stirred up a ‘beef’ controversy. Rijiju, who gave a perfect reply to Naqvi’s beef remarks, later said that the media had put words in his mouth. He or his family do not eat beef, reports Times of India.
But Mr Rijiju should be aware that he can’t escape the controversy by putting the blame on media. In the audio below, uploaded by Indian Express, his comments on eating beef are clear.
(Skip to 35:00 for minister’s comments on beef)
According to Hindustan Times, Rijiju, who hails from Arunachal Pradesh, where beef is a staple in the diet, said:
“I eat beef. I’m from Arunachal Pradesh. Can somebody stop me? So let us not be touchy about somebody’s practices. This is a democratic country. Sometimes, some statements are made which are not palatable. If a Mizo Christian says that this is the land of Jesus, why should someone have a problem in Punjab or Haryana? We have to honour the sentiments of each place and each location.”
His remarks came four days after Naqvi, the Minister of State for Minority Affairs, asked people who want to eat beef to go to Pakistan. Naqvi was quoted as saying:
“It is not about loss or profit…it is an issue of faith and belief. It is a sensitive issue for the Hindus. Those who are dying without eating beef can go to Pakistan or Arab countries or any other part of the world where it is available.”
But Rijiju indicated that laws on issues such as cow slaughter should be made according to the wishes of the people of a particular state. He said:
“If Maharashtra is a Hindu majority, or if Gujarat is Hindu majority, Madhya Pradesh is Hindu majority, if they are to make laws which are conducive to the Hindu faith, let them be. But in our place, in our state where we are the majority, where we feel whatever steps we take, you know, laws which are conducive to our beliefs, it should be. India is a multi-racial, multi-religious, multi-communal country and people must respect each other’s practices.”