GUWAHATI: Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and popular Bharatiya Janata Party leader from Northeast India has made some shocking statement during an interview with a senior journalist in Times Now a day before regarding the Cattle Protection Bill, 2021. The bill seeks to prohibit selling of beef in areas which have a predominant population of Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and other non-beef-eating communities or within a radius of 5km of any temple, ‘satra’ (Vaishnavite monastery) “or other religious institutions belonging to Hindu religion or any other institution or area as may be prescribed by the competent authority.”
Here are the excerpts from the interview:
Journalist: The new law that you have gotten passed that criminalizes the slaughter of cow and consumption of beef in Hindu, Jain and Sikh majority areas and within 5 kilometre radius of any religious place… Many people say you are attempting to divide communities?
Sarma: In Assam people are saying that you (we) people are doing very good.
Journalist: Do you think the government should decide who should eat what and where?
Sarma: That is what Mahatma Gandhi used to say. I blindly follow Mahatma Gandhi. He said India should protect cow and cattle population. He is the father of the nation. When the guardian of the house says something, what’s there to dispute?
Journalist: Mr Sarma, the way you are defining the the 5km distance from religious places, In India you will something or the other related to religion within one or 2kilometres.
Sarma: More temples should be constructed so that beef consumption goes down.
Journalist: What do u mean Mr. Sarma?
Sarma: Bahut easy baat hai.(It’s a simple thing).. I want to protect cattle population.
Journalist: So this law has been framed so that people will be unable to consume beef?
Sarma: Kyu Khana hai? (Why do you need to eat beef?)
Journalist: What do you mean kyu khana hai? How will you decide what I want to eat?
Sarma: Gandhi ji bol ke gaya hai ki cattle ki puja karo. Hum nahi bol raha hai ki cattle ki puja karo.. par appeal toh kar sakte hai na?
Journalist: By formulating laws?
Sarma: This is an appeal.
Mr. Sarma you have practically ensured that no one is able to eat anything in entire of Assam because you have…(interrupted by Assam CM)
Sarma: Assam people, both Hindus and Muslim are very happy (with the law)
.Journalist: What about Assamese Hindus who eat beef? You know that right?
Sarma: Assamese Hindus and Muslims are very happy with this act because the Hindus feel that now within five kilometres of radius of our temple there will be no slaughter of beef and Muslim feels in our village we can consume beef. In Assembly we have debated about that and on 13th (August) also there will be debate finally when we are going to pass the legislation. People in Assam are not even writing a single article also on this.
Journalist: You are happy with what you have done?
Sarma: I am extremely proud of this law and I think I have done something which will ensure communal harmony in Assam and that is why not even a known Muslim organization is coming out to oppose this bill. They say abhi hamare liye accha ho gaya.
Journalist: Because aap ne aisa koi jagah hi nahi chora hai jahan beef kha sakte hai
Sarma: 35% land mass hai jahan you will not see Hindu population continuously. From Delhi, it is very difficult to understand Northeast and Assam. In Assam there are districts and there are villages where only Muslims lives. Not a single Hindu lives.
Journalist: What happens to the Hindus who eat beef? You are stopping it?
Sarma: No Hindus in Assam eats beef.
Journalist: What do u mean no Hindus in Assam eats beef?
Sarma: Normally.. normally they do not eat beef.. You have to believe me. We have the tradition of Mahapurusha Srimanta Sankardeva.. Hindu eating beef! You are making a big statement.
Journalist: Oh Come on Sarma, new generation Hindus who eats beef, there are so many who travels outside and…
Sarma: I have not met!
Journalist: I still do not think a government should sit down and decide what I can eat and what I cannot.
Sarma: When you will the Chief Minister of Assam, definitely you will frame that law. But as long as I am Chief Minister, let me go to my assembly, with a democratic process let me pass the law we feel good and in consonance with our manifesto.
On 13th August, The Assam Assembly is going to discuss and may pass the Cattle Protection Bill 2021 in the ongoing Assembly session.
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