BJP-ruled Goa would not ban beef as it is an essential part of the cuisine of minority communities in the state, chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar has said.
"Regardless of what the Centre does — in Goa minorities are 39-40% — if it is part of their food habits, why and how can we ban it? For people — especially minorities — eating beef is part of their food," Parsekar told the Economic Times.
The newspaper also quoted him as saying that it had taken several years for the party to win the trust of the minorities in Goa.
Minorities, who make up nearly 40% of the population, have been part of the Bharatiya Janata Party's success story in Goa. The party grew from a mere 4 seats in the 40-member assembly in 1994, to cross the halfway mark and form the government in 2012.?
Parsekar's comments assume significance as it comes after BJP governments in Maharashtra and Haryana imposed blanket bans on eating and selling beef.
Parsekar said that killings of cows would not be permitted in deference to the sentiments of Hindus. Killing of oxen or bulls is also not happening in Goa now, the former RSS functionary said.
ET quoted Parsekar as saying that beef is brought from neighbouring Karnataka and sold in Goa, the BJP government allows it as it is part of the food of Catholics and Muslims and should not be banned.
Maharashtra passed a bill in the first week of March imposing a jail term of 5 years and a fine of Rs 10,000 for anyone selling or consuming beef.
Less than two weeks later BJP-ruled Haryana too ordered that anyone caught selling beef would be punished with 3-5 years rigorous imprisonment and a fine upto Rs. 50,000.
The BJP then denied any political motive behind the ban on beef, and said it was in the interest of agriculture. But apparently the party has now decided not to extend the logic to Goa.