GUWAHATI: A rebel-turned-politician from Meghalaya said the BJP would reduce the price of beef if voted to power in the state while insisting that the Centre should take the public’s view before putting any restriction on the sale or consumption of beef.
Bernard Marak, who is BJP’s Tura unit president, said the beef ban should not apply to states with a Christian-majority.
“Meghalaya has a huge demand for beef but the prices are not regulated. Neither is there any slaughter house nor is the meat certified by doctors. As such, sometimes old meat is mixed with fresh meat. If BJP is voted to power, it will look into the issues and regulate the prices so that people don’t have to buy meat at a high price,” Marak told the New Indian Express.
“The Centre wants to ban beef consumption but it should not apply to the Christian-majority states where most people consume meat including beef. Any ban has to be on public consensus. Meghalaya being a tribal State, we want the sentiments of the people to be respected,” he said.
Marak, who co-founded insurgent group Achik National Volunteer Council, said any restriction on beef consumption in Meghalaya would create a big impact. Rival political parties are criticising the BJP by calling it a “Hindu party”, he said.
“It (Centre) should instead focus on good governance and should not intrude into someone’s private practices. I already spoke with our state leadership about it and they will shortly write to the Central leaders. We will also raise the issue when (BJP Meghalaya in-charge) Nalin Kohli visits the state on Tuesday,” Marak said.
Christian-majority states Meghalaya, Nagaland and Mizoram have a high demand for beef. After conquering Assam and Manipur, the BJP has set its sights on Meghalaya besides Tripura.
Assembly elections in Meghalaya and Nagaland will be held early in 2018. But there is a perception among a section of its leaders that BJP’s going the Hindu way vis-à-vis the ban on cattle trade will hurt the party in the polls.