Goa BJP in bind over beef issue: Congress

Panaji, Jan 8 (IANS) The BJP in Goa is caught in a bind over its duplicity on the beef issue at the Centre and in states, Congress state President Shantaram Naik said on Monday.

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Naik also alleged that it was the RSS which was influencing the Goa government vis-a-vis prolonging beef shortage in Goa.

Addressing the media here, Naik said: “The BJP should clarify its position. Everyone knows our position. The BJP has a two-faced policy.

“At the national level it has one policy and at the regional level it has another. Parrikar is caught in a bind,” Naik told reporters.

Naik was asked for comments on the ongoing beef shortage in Goa following a strike by beef traders who have claimed harassment at the hands of vigilante groups and government officials.

“Our support is for beef traders because it is food. We cannot stop food. It is not right.”

File Photo/IANS: Congress state President Shantaram Naik

Naik said the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh had a hand in the government’s lack of initiative in ending the current beef shortage.

“The RSS has a presence in Goa. A decision on the beef issue may be decided there. But it doesn’t look like the RSS will take a decision in support of beef traders. Nothing moves in the Goa government without RSS,” he said.

Beef is commonly consumed in most Christian and Muslim homes in the state. Minorities comprise more than 30 per cent of the state’s 1.5 million population.

Cheaper than mutton, beef is also one of the preferred meat in the tourism-oriented coastal belt, which sees nearly six million tourists, half a million of which are foreigners.

According to official statistics from the Goa Meat Complex, the state’s only abattoir facility allowed to slaughter cattle and buffaloes, Goa consumes nearly 30 tonnes of fresh beef every day.

The strike by beef sellers entered its third day on Monday with fresh red meat not available for sale in markets.

Naik also said that the failure of the state government to even file an FIR against Madhya Pradesh-based Hindutva leader Sadhvi Saraswati, who in June at a public meeting in Goa sought death for those eating beef, has betrayed the government’s position on beef consumption.