The BJP’s campaign in Uttar Pradesh unmistakably exposes the doublespeak. It is not restricted to the socalled development as the panacea to economic growth of Uttar Pradesh; rather, it focusses on communal as well as caste polarisation.
The BJP’s political success since the early 1990s has much to do with the communalisation of Indian politics through changing the discourse on secularism. There has been a concerted attempt to debunk the secular narrative on the ground.
“Bhagva Brigade” has arrived at last. And the double standards of the Hindutva brigade are in full glare.
The party supports law against consumption of beef within states in India, but the beef export is so high that India is world leader in it.
Even its leaders openly say that those who want to consume beef should leave the country. On May 27, 2015, days after minister of state for minority affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said that those who eat beef should go to Pakistan. Minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju said his colleague’s statements were “unpalatable”. “I eat beef, I’m from Arunachal Pradesh, can somebody stop me? So let us not be touchy about somebody’s practices,” Rijiju said during a visit to Aizawl on May 27, 2015.
“This is a democratic country. Sometimes, some statements are made which are not palatable.”If a Mizo Christian says that this is the land of Jesus, why should someone have a problem in Punjab or Haryana? We have to honour the sentiments of each place and each location,” he said.
Rijiju said “This country is a multi-racial, multi-religious, multicommunal country. We must respect each other’s BJP’s Double Speak on Beef practices. There cannot be any force on anybody about your practices, your faith. So if anybody makes a statement which is forcing or imposing your belief, your faith, your practices on another community, another believer, it is not good.”
On the other hand when BJP amended a bill reflecting stricter punishment for those found guilty of cow slaughter in Gujarat and initiated a crackdown on illegal slaughter houses in Uttar Pradesh, its candidate in a byelection in Kerala is traversing a different path.
N Sreeprakash, the BJP candidate in the upcoming Lok Sabha byelection in Malappuram, is promising voters that if elected, he will ensure the supply of good beef in the constituency.
“There will be efforts from my side to ensure good-quality beef at clean abattoirs (if elected),” Sreeprakash told reporters at a ‘Meet the Press’ function. He blamed the Congress for enforcing ban on cow slaughter when it was in power in many states in the past. He said it was only illegal to consume beef in states where a ban on cow slaughter is in place.
Kerala is among the few states in the country where there are no restrictions on the sale and consumption of cow meat.
Sreeprakash’s admission comes a day after Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh, a BJP leader, said that anyone found committing gau hatya (cow slaughter) will be hanged. The state banned cow slaughter in 2004.
While the BJP has pursued tough legislation and action on those who are committing cow slaughtering in the northern and western states, it has been criticised of hypocrisy in states like Kerala and the northeast where consumption of beef is not illegal. One news agency quoted one opposition leader saying that BJP’s hypocrisy is that “in Uttar Pradesh, cow is mummy but in the Northeast its yummy”.
And it is not one or two incidents that while exposing the dubious character of Bhagva Brigade they are getting exposed frequently in various part of the country.
In Goa, BJP chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar had said on October 17, 2015 that the Beef was eaten as part of cuisine, not to offend others.
Parsekar’s statement comes in the backdrop of Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar saying Muslims must quit eating beef to stay in India. Goa chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar said last October 17 that in his state, beef was eaten by communities because it was part of their cuisine and I don’t feel the people of a community eat or use beef to hurt sentiments of others. It is part of their cuisine or preparation and we also accept the fact. He said this in a brief interview to a national daily and added that in Goa, no controversy can be created on the issue.
Despite the loud voice duet on cow slaughtering Bhagva Brigade is completely getting unmasked in northeast Indian states. After making a manipulated entry into the Northeast — first winning the Assembly elections in Assam in 2016, a “back-door entry” in Arunachal Pradesh, and forming a government in alliance with smaller parties in Manipur in March 2017, Shah and his lieutenants are trying to repeat the successes in the three states. Notwithstanding the political equations, the common man is suddenly worried about domination of Hindu politics and imposition of a culture that’s framed within a Hindutva-defined national identity. Trying to allay fears of the northeastern states, the party has categorically said that no such ban would be imposed in the three northeastern states. The BJP Meghalaya unit general secretary, David Kharsati, was forced to issue a statement on March 26, in which he blamed “groups with vested interest” of spreading rumours. In Nagaland, party chief Visasolie Lhoungu said: “Ban on cow slaughter like the one in UP would not be effective in Nagaland if our party comes to power next year.” That was at the time when Amit Shah visited Meghalaya first time and there the protesters voiced concerns over the dangers of “Hindu right wing” politics, and how a similar beef ban, if imposed in the Northeast, would render thousands of tribal people jobless besides hurting their religious sentiments.
Amid a crackdown in Uttar Pradesh by the new BJP government to enforce a ban on cow slaughter and illegal abattoirs, the ‘Bhagva’ party has clarified that a similar rule would not be imposed in three northeastern states which go to polls next year.
Despite the Bhagva Brigade’s politics on beef, India is the highest exporter of beef in the entire world. This has been disclosed in a United States report on meat export. The country has exported 2.4 million tonnes or 24 lakh tonnes of beef, suggests the latest US Agriculture department report.
The revelations are serious as BJP that is at the helm in the country, goes with a missionary zeal to ban cow slaughter.
In the latest report, India has even increased its lead over Brazil, which is the second biggest exporter, compared to the previous year figures.