New Delhi: While the Bharatiya Janata Party government at the Centre may have virtually launched a ban on beef by enforcing a countrywide restriction on the sale and purchase of cattle from animal markets for slaughter, a party leader in Meghalaya has not only ruled out beef ban in the state but has also promised reduction of its price for the poor if the BJP comes to power in 2018.
The BJP is aiming at wresting power from the Congress in the northeastern state in the upcoming polls. A predominately Christian state, beef is a commonly consumed meat among the local people.
In a statement issued to the media on May 28, state BJP leader from Garo Hills, Bernard Marak, said if his party came to power, it would not only regulate the price of beef and other meats to make it more affordable for the poor, but it would also legalise the slaughterhouses in the Garo Hills.
According to local media reports, Marak, formerly the chief of the armed group Achik National Volunteer Council-Bernard, said that most BJP leaders of the state consume beef and “the Centre cannot enforce a ban on its consumption [in Meghalaya].”
“The question of banning beef does not arise in a state like Meghalaya, especially in the Garo Hills. BJP leaders in Meghalaya are well aware of the historical background and the constitutional provisions over the hill areas and beef ban cannot be imposed in Meghalaya,” Marak, the chief of the BJP’s Tura unit, said in the statement. He also accused the present Congress government of failing to regulate the price of beef which has led to “harassment of public.”
“Slaughter houses will be set up, meat will be checked to ensure it is fit for consumption, rates will be regulated. The people of the state need not panic or get influenced by other political parties on the issue of beef ban,” he said.
While the state BJP president Shibun Lyngdoh told reporters that Marak’s views were his own and the party has not made any such promise to the public, he added, “There won’t be any beef ban in Meghalaya.”
It may be mentioned that the state unit of the party has written a letter to the party’s national leader in charge of Meghalaya, Nalin Kohli, expressing discomfort over the Centre’s recent cattle trade directive.