Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh has said that anti-cow slaughter feelings were an inherent part of India, while adding that Veer Savarkar, was, however, in favour of culling old and infirm cattle. This, he said, reflected the plurality and complexity of the issue, that the ruling BJP was trying to obfuscate.
“Many people have expressed themselves very clearly on the subject, including Veer Savarkar who in his writings has very plainly stated that culling was probably an option for old and infirm cows,” he told The Hindu .
The former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister said that the BJP was raising the issue of beef and cow slaughter “to hide its own failures” and that the beef issue “was not a T20 match to be decided in a day.”Ambedkar’s views
“If you go back into Indian history it will be plain to anyone that feelings against cow slaughter are inherent in India. The revolt of 1857 was sparked off because of the rumours that the East India Company army was distributing cartridges greased with cow and pig fat. On the other hand our country is diverse and men such as B.R. Ambedkar has cited Rig Veda and other scriptures showing that beef was consumed by Hindus, while Veer Savarkar worried about what would happen to old and infirm cows, whether it wasn’t better to cull them,” he said.
Mahatma Gandhi too had expressed himself clearly on this issue, said Mr Singh. “Therefore, the matter has been left to the States, what is relevant in Nagaland is not relevant in Gujarat, what is relevant in Kerala may not be relevant in Punjab,” he said.
The BJP, he added, was stoking the issue in order to hide its failures. “I have numerous examples where the Bajrang Dal and other such organisations collect donations from cattle transporters,” he said.
“When I was Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh I called a meeting of the Queresh samaj [butcher community] and they agreed not to slaughter cows and said that it had been banned under the regime of the Nawab of Bhopal as well,” he said.
He added that any such polarisation on communal lines was politically bad for the Congress. “You see it Uttar Pradesh where polarisation has only helped the BJP and Samajwadi Party [SP],” he said. In the last couple of days the issue has been gaining ground in Bihar as well, to which Mr. Singh replied with a stout defence of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Lalu Prasad.
“Laluji’s comment was not aimed at the Yadav community. His is the community that does Gau [cow] Sewa after Diwali, it is not Digvijaya Singh or Rajnath Singh’s ancestors who were the custodians of this livestock, nor Narendra Modi or Sushil Modi. To paint a picture that Laluji condoned cow slaughter is to do him an injustice,” he said.