With slogans like “We will eat beef and it’s like vegetable to us” rending the air, a few hundred Congress workers led by the Arunachal Pradesh Youth Congress (APYC) took out a rally here today to register protest against the Centre’s ban on cow slaughter for sale in markets. Hitting out at BJP-led NDA Government, which headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for behaving like some cooking show judge to decide what should be cooked in households, AICC secretary in-charge for the North East, Sarifa Rehman said the Centre did not have the right to decide what Arunachalees should eat and cook in their households. Representatives of the Arunachal Pradesh Congress Committee, other frontal organisations and district units started from the state Congress headquarters Rajiv Gandhi Bhawan here and ended their protest at the Mithun Gate area in Itanagar. In a memorandum addressed to Governor P B Acharya, the APCC demanded the lifting of the ban with immediate effect. “We have in the north east region, Arunachal in particular is known for unique and different cultures and traditional values. Our food habits being tribals are different. Eating meat is associated with our culture. We cannot eat ghee and dal. So let us eat what we like,” APYC president Jikke Tako said. “Mithun, beef and pork meat have a ceremonial place in the economic, social and cultural life of various indigenous tribes in the North East,” Tako added. “Enough is enough,” APCC president Takam Sanjoy told ANI, adding “this is how the Modi Government has been trying to divert the attention of the masses from its failure to meet it committed announcement of development.” “This is just the tips of the iceberg. If the Central Government fails to withdraw its ban order, the APCC would intensify its agitation, which he said, would be themed as “Gaon ki Aur Chalo, Culture Bachao” (Move towards villages to protect culture).
Chief Minister Pema Khandu had recently told a national news channel that he consumes beef and had quoted Union Information and Broadcasting Minister M. Venakiah Naidu, as saying that the Centre would have a relook at the ordinance soon. Assam Minister and senior BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma, who is also convenor of North-East Democratic Alliance, a grouping of the BJP and other NE regional political parties, on June 7 last had told a news agency that state governments in the region have no intention to impose any dietary restriction on the people. “Some people have made it look like that the only issue in the north east is beef. It has been portrayed as if people here eat beef from morning to night and there is no other thing. People are asking for roads, railways and jobs… The beef issue has been blown out of proportion,” he said.