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Minister decries cow slaughter; calls review meet of food export authority

The outcry over the Dadri lynching notwithstanding, the NDA government seems determined to prioritise its ideological stand on banning cow slaughter and beef consumption in the country.

Minister of State for Agriculture Sanjeev Balyan (accused in the Muzzaffarnagar riots and MP from that district) has called a review meeting of the Agriculture and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) for Tuesday to determine whether increased export of buffalo meat is not a cover for slaughtering of cows and exporting their meat in the guise of buffalo meat.

Speaking to The Hindu, he said: “Illegal cow slaughter is going on, on a large scale, in Uttar Pradesh, and is creating social tensions almost every other day in the State. And while the APEDA has its own marking systems, I have called a meeting for tomorrow [Tuesday] to determine whether there is any slippage there.” “The meeting is basically to match capacity with production and [to find out] whether there is any irregularity there,” he said. India is one of the biggest exporters of buffalo meat (termed beef for branding purposes), and cow meat export is banned.

He said he would write to Digvijaya Singh, asking that cow slaughter be banned in Kerala, after the AICC general secretary’s statement that “it was the Congress which formulated laws against cow slaughter in the States. The BJP should understand that.”

Mr. Balyan said the BJP “would be convinced if the Congress managed to ban it in Kerala, where it is in power.”

‘Police-beef mafia nexus’

Mr. Balyan defended Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma’s remarks terming “a mistake and not pre-meditated” the lynching of Mohammad Akhlaq by a mob in a village in Dadri over rumours he was storing beef in his house.

“I called up the Minister in Seychelles [where he is touring] and asked him about this. He told me that he regretted the incident and the only thing he meant by the word ‘accident’ was to discount a long drawn-out conspiracy behind it,” he said.

Asked about BJP leaders and those being connected with the party being arrested for the lynching, he said: “The party has members in every district of the country. It does not mean that this has been condoned by the party leadership.”

Mr. Balyan said that if these arrests were the criteria for “maligning” the BJP, then people should also know that “there is a nexus between the police at the local level and the cow slaughter mafia in Uttar Pradesh, where this business is thriving.”

“Whoever tries to stop this is persecuted by the police. There are three kinds of mafia in U.P.: the illegal mining mafia, the cow slaughter mafia and hooch. Just look at the police force and other recruitments. Most will be from the Mainpuri and Etawah belt.”


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Printable version | Dec 5, 2021 4:23:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/balyan-decries-cow-slaughter/article7727755.ece

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