Union Minister of State for Social Justice Ramdas Athawale on Friday said that every individual has the right to eat beef, and that it is “not right to become a nar-bhakshak in the name of being a gau-rakshak”. Athawale, who heads the Republican Party of India, also warned that his party would be forced to take to the streets in protest if the “gau rakshaks” continue to indulge in violence.
“Every individual has the right to decide what they should eat. If anybody wants to eat beef, it is their individual right. Today, cow vigilantes in the name of cow protection are stopping vehicles carrying meat or animals and beating people. Many innocent people have lost their lives, which cannot be justified or overlooked,” he told reporters here.
Referring to a recent incident in which a man was beaten up on the suspicion that he was carrying beef, he said, “Everyone has the right to eat beef. Since goat meat is expensive, people eat beef. I condemn the Nagpur incident. It is not right to become a nar-bhakshak (cannibal) in the name of being a gau-rakshak (cow protector).”
The RPI leader alleged that there appeared to be a larger plan to undermine PM Narendra Modi, who had expressed concern over violence in the name of cow protection. “The increasing incidents of violence in the name of the cow could be a strategy to undermine Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Opposition leaders have alleged the role of a section of the BJP working to undermine the rising status of Modi,” he said.
Athawale also demanded loan waiver for Dalits, OBCs and tribal corporations. The total loans of all backward organisations works out to Rs 635.99 crore, he said. Regarding the explosives found in the UP Assembly, Athawale said it was a “very serious matter”. “This incident is similar to the attack on Parliament,” he said. “There is no conspiracy to kill Yogi (Adityanath), but there should be an investigation into the matter. The possible terror links should also be probed.”
On the NDA’s Presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind, who is scheduled to visit Mumbai on Saturday, Athawale said, “He should visit Matoshree and meet (Shiv Sena president) Uddhav Thackeray. Pranab Mukherjee had also visited Matoshree when his candidature was announced (for the post of President).” Sources in BJP had earlier said Kovind was not scheduled to visit Thackeray’s residence during his Mumbai visit.
—With PTI inputs