A senior Meghalaya BJP leader has said that if voted to power, his party's government would regulate the sale of beef in the state which would being down the price of the meat. Bernard N Marak was trying to allay the fears over ban of beef in the state and said the party will never impose such a ban in Meghalaya.
"Consumption of beef is a routine thing among Garo people, most of who are Christians. But the prices are very high as there is no regularisation. If elected, our party will regularise sale, which will bring prices down,” Marak had on Sunday told the Hindustan Times.
Stating further on Monday, Marak, the BJP Tura district president, said, "In Meghalaya most of the BJP leaders eat beef. The question of banning beef does not arise in a state like Meghalaya especially in Garo Hills. BJP leaders in Meghalaya are well aware of the historical background and the constitutional provisions over the Hill areas for which beef ban will remain un-imposed in Meghalaya."
The BJP leader added that if the BJP came to power in the state next year, its motive would not be a beef ban but the regulation of rates and slaughter houses to allow for an ease in meat consumption.
"In Garo Hills, beef is an expensive meat which cannot be availed by all. The (state) government failed to regularise uniformity in rates of meats which is harassment to the people. The meat is also slaughtered without proper certification from veterinary doctors leaving people exposed to unhygienic edibles and sometimes chemical substances," added the BJP leader.
"Meghalaya does not have proper slaughter houses to check the meat sold at the market places. Sometimes even deceased animals are also sold along with the fresh ones.
These are failures of the government which needs to be checked and properly regulated. BJP will do everything that Congress government has failed in its time by establishing slaughter houses, checking meats, regulating high rates of meats and reducing it to a reasonable price," stated Bernard.
"We stand on the hills of three sisters (Garo, Khasi and Jaintia) which are constitutionally autonomous. These three sisters will decide what to ban and not to ban in their own land. Centre cannot dictate dos and don ts in the scheduled areas as these areas do not fall under the Regular Regulations," said Bernard.
Meghalaya, where beef is widely consumed, is predominantly Christian. The the community accounts for 74.59 per cent of the state’s population, according to the 2011 census.
State BJP has distanced iteslf from Marak’s views on bringing down the price of beef.
“As a party we haven’t made any promise of bringing down prices of beef if elected to power in the state next year. But there won’t be a ban on beef in Meghalaya,” state BJP chief Shibun Lyngdoh was quoted as saying by HT.
The state unit of the BJP has written to Nalin Kohli, the party in-charge for Meghalaya, to ensure the state was spared the ban.
The Union Environment Ministry had last week notified the stringent 'Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017' under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act banning the sale and purchase of cattle from animal markets for slaughter.