A day after MoS for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said those who cannot live without eating beef should go to Pakistan, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday disapproved of it and said government’s policies are not affected by such remarks.
During a TV debate on Thursday night, Naqvi said: “This is an issue of faith and belief. Cow is considered holy in India and so we can’t allow it to be killed. It is a sensitive issue. Those who cannot live without it should go to Pakistan or to Arab countries. India can never allow it.” He was replying to a question from fellow panelist Lok Sabha MP and AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi during a conclave organised by Headlines Today.
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Owaisi had questioned the government’s “double standards” in encouraging beef exports, but not allowing those in India to eat it. He also asked what BJP would want to do in Goa where its government has allowed cow slaughter.
As Naqvi’s comment was slammed by leaders of various political parties, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley disapproved of the remark, saying people should be aware of their responsibilities. He also said the government’s policies are not affected by such statements.
“It is natural that people should realise their responsibilities. The Prime Minister has also said so time and again,” Jaitley reportedly said. Naqvi was not available for comments.
Naqvi’s senior minister Najma Heptulla last year had stirred a hornet’s nest by saying that Muslims were too large in number to call themselves a minority and that it is the Parsis who need special attention, for they are a “minuscule minority”.
The ripples of Naqvi’s comment were also felt in Jammu and Kashmir, where an independent MLA, Engineer Rashid, issued a statement, saying the minister’s remark has hurt “the sentiments of 20 crore Muslims of India”. “If Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi seriously believes that those who want to eat beef should go to Pakistan, then he must keep in mind that 200 million Muslims will not go to Pakistan empty handed, leaving their belongings behind, but will prefer to have another Pakistan within India, which they have a right to protect themselves against communal and radical Hindu fundamentalists,” he said.