P.A. Sangma, Rio mum on beef row


NEW DELHI: Amid the controversy over cow slaughter and the consumption of beef following the alleged lynching of a man, the issue has not seen any NDA allies from the north east speak up. The region has the highest number of beef consumers.

Most MPs of parties allied to the BJP refused to comment on the beef eating issue that has caused outrage among large sections of the people.

"I cannot comment on the issue. I am not the perfect person. You better speak to some other political leader on such a thing," P.A. Sangma, chief of National People's Party (NPP) – a staunch ally of the BJP -led NDA, told this reporter when asked about his opinion on the beef controversy. Sangma,68, is one of the northeast region's senior most and highly respected politicians.

Recently concluded GHADC election in Meghalaya ensured that Sangma's NPP and BJP were allies .

India's North East, besides being the region with the highest consumption level of beef, is the only area where cattle slaughter and consumption of beef is legal.

Former Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio too declined to comment on the issue.

Rio, who gave up his chief ministership to become the lone Lok Sabha member from Nagaland, belongs to the Naga People's Front, a BJP ally.

"If senior northeast leaders like Sangma and Rio continue to maintain silence on such a serious matter, then who will speak in case the right wing elements decide to impose beef ban in the northeast," said a research scholar from Nagaland on the silence by NE Mps.

The silence being maintained by the NE MPs from NDA allies goes completely against domestic leaders like Mamata Banerjee, Naveen Patnaik and Jayalalitha, who have always come forward to insulate the interest of their own people without heeding to their political interest.

The lynching of a villager, Akhlaq, in western UP's Dadri area September 28 by a mob over suspicion that he kept beef in his refrigerator has raked up a massive controversy. His son Danish was injured badly and is in serious condition in hospital.

The Dadri issue has seen right wing elements dismiss the lynching as an accident and also refer to the cow as "gau mata". BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj has added more communal colour to the issue, by saying "If someone insults our mother we would rather die than tolerate it. For us it is Bharat Mata, our biological mother and gau mata."

Noted writer Nayantara Sahgal ,Filmmakers like Dibakar Banerjee and a host of writers have returned their  awards as a mark of protest.

India's North East is the only region in the country where beef consumption and cow slaughtering is legal, especially in the states of Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram among others.

Apart from that India has also been official announced as the world's top beef exporter according to data released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Though there are no specific official data on how many cattle are slaughtered in India's North East annually and the actual amount of beef consumed, researches have concluded that an average tribal from the NE eats over 1 kilo grams than tribal in other parts of the country, who consume beef mere once in a month of so.

According to the data, India exported 2.4 million tonnes of beef in financial year 2015, compared to 2 million tonnes by Brazil and 1.5 million by Australia. These three countries account for 58.7 per cent of all the beef exports in the world.

Following the recent controversies over beef consumption, Indian Government has planned to set up laboratories at ports to test for illegal cow meat exports amid.