Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Sunday said governments could not take positions on issues such as the consumption of beef, which were matters of “individual opinion”.
“It is a sensitive matter,” he said in response to a question about Baba Ramdev’s demand for a pan India ban on the consumption of beef. “(The view on) it varies from person to person. As an administrator or the government, I cannot take a position to satisfy any one group. It is about individual opinion.”
The minister, who belongs to Goa but is a Rajya Sabha MP from UP where the issue of beef has seen a lynching, added, “Look, if tomorrow vegetarians say that the entire world must go veg, not only will this be inconvenient to others, a time might come when the prices of vegetables will rise so high that even vegetarians won’t be able to afford it, and will have no food to eat.”
On allegations that the RSS has been instigating communal violence, Parrikar said, “I have been hardcore RSS since childhood, and I can assure you that this had nothing to do with the RSS. We Indians are a very tolerant society, sensitive issues of this nature must be discussed. Violence of any nature by anyone is not acceptable in a democracy.”
The minister said the central government had already decided on One Rank One Pension (OROP) for armed forces veterans, and the formal notification would come after the Bihar polls. “I don’t want to be issued notice by the Election Commission… the central government has already contemplated going ahead with its decision, and we will issue notification soon after the Bihar election,” Parrikar said.