NEW DELHI: There was a need to take states into confidence on banning cow slaughter, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said today, maintaining that cow was protected even during Mughal rule.
"Cow slaughter and beef were banned since the vedic times. Even during the Mughal rule, it was banned during the times of Bahadurshah Zafar, Akbar and Jehangir. It has even been written in the 'Babarnama' that one cannot rule over Hindustan unless you stop cow slaughter," he said at a function here in memory of those killed during a demonstration on the issue here 50 years ago.
The Home Minister said there was a need to take the states into confidence on the matter, though many states have already banned cow slaughter after increased awareness over the issue.
"As far as the cow is concerned, it is not just a cultural issue, it is an issue of faith. But besides being an issue of faith, it is also an issue which should be viewed from the economic, historical and scientific perspective," he said.
Singh said the NDA government was working towards enforcing a complete ban on smuggling of cattle to Bangladesh and taken a number of steps in this regard, but achieved only "partial success" keeping in view the long borders.
"I want to tell you on behalf of our government that we want that cow should be protected. We have tried to stop the smuggling of cows to Bangladesh from across the borders. But the borders are very vast and we have achieved only partial success.
"We have taken a number of measures and will try to put a complete ban on smuggling of cows, but I feel this will take some time," Singh said, adding Article 48 of the Constitution mentions that governments will work to stop cow slaughter.
"We should understand that India is a federal country and there is a need to take the states into confidence. Many states have already banned cow slaughter and recently Jharkhand has done so," he said.
Paying tributes to those who died on November 7, 1966, while raising the issue of cow slaughter in Delhi, the Home Minister said "I believe they gave their supreme sacrifice for a big goal. I pay my tributes to them. I also laud you for remembering them even after 50 years."
His remarks come days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi dubbed some people protecting cows as "criminals" masquerading as cow vigilantes and sought action against them.
RSS general secretary Bhayyaji Joshi said cow protection movement has come a long way as "there is a government now in place whose Home Minister is sitting among cow protectors and paying homage" to those killed 50 years ago for seeking efforts in this direction.
Citing a US Department of Agriculture meet convened to define genetic sequence of cows where 300 scientists were invited from 25 countries, Singh said it had concluded that 80 per cent of the genes found in the cow and a human were the same.
In his speech, Joshi said 50 years ago, 'gau rakshaks' came to present their point of view before Parliament and the Home Minister of that time "meted out such treatment to them which was inhuman."
"Today, we have a gathering of 'gau rakshaks' who have come together to pay homage to those killed 50 years ago and this government's Home Minister is sitting with us on the stage in joining us pay homage. In that society, there was a conspiracy being hatched from behind and today our Home Minister is saying 'gau mata ki jai'," the RSS leader said.
A large number of religious leaders and VHP and RSS leaders were present during the meet where tributes were paid to those killed in the agitation.
In his speech, Rajnath Singh also said that cow needed to be viewed through various other facets and not merely mythological, scientific or economic.
"I feel that the prevailing polluted atmosphere, the angle of climate change should also be examined. Because scientists have said to produce one pound of beef, 1,800 gallons of water is used while for producing other meats 500 to 1,200 gallons of water is used. You can yourself conclude that we have to stop the fast changing climate changes that are taking place.
"We understand the importance of cow and as more and more awareness is created, the state governments are banning cow slaughter," he said.
Singh said that due to the curbs on the border, a Bangladesh minister told him a few months ago that beef prices in Bangladesh had risen by 40 per cent after the ban on cattle smuggling.
Joshi asked the attendees at the meeting to take over the task of cow protection and change the mindset to stop the smuggling of cows should come to an end.
"Smuggling of cows was on the increase in last few years due to the perverted mindset and some people were making financial gains out of the practice due to the corrupt administration.
"We have now started working in the right direction and we hope that all problems in this regard would be removed," he said.
Among those present at the meeting were BJP general secretary Ram Lal, RSS joint general secretary Krishan Gopal, VHP general secretary Champat Rai and joint general secretary Surendra Jain, besides Delhi BJP unit chief Satish Upadhyay and New Delhi MP Meenakshi Lekhi.