Firebrand Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sangeet Som, who has been leading a strident campaign against beef consumption against the backdrop of Dadri killing...
Firebrand Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sangeet Som, who has been leading a strident campaign against beef consumption against the backdrop of Dadri killing, was himself related to meat business as a director on the board of a leading producer and exporter of ‘halal meat’, it has emerged.
The regulatory filings made by the company named Al-Dua Food Processing Private Limited show that Som was a Director, a post from which he resigned in 2008 after having served the board for three years since registration of the company.
Published documents also purportedly showed that Som was the first signatory to the Memorandum of Association of Al-Dua when it was registered in 2005 with the explicit objective of manufacturing, processing, buying and selling of meat and products.
However, Som, who evaded specific questions on his directorship of a meat firm, denied any links to the company.
When contacted, Som denied being associated with any meat company and said allegations are being levelled against him to tarnish his image.
“I don’t even eat egg, and meat business is completely out of question,” the BJP MLA from Sardhana, an accused in the Muzzafarnagar riots case of 2013, told PTI.
“This is not the first attempt to tarnish my image and the Samajwadi Party has levelled similar allegations against me on past six occasions,” he added.
Asked about the company dealing in meat business, he said a company deals in “thousands of things” and how was he supposed to know everything.
On its website, Al-Dua claims to be a “leading producer and exporter of ‘halal meat’ from India and says it is part of “the famous M K Group conglomerate of companies”.
When asked about purchase of land in Aligarh as director of Al-Dua company, Som said he was neither a director nor associated with any meat company in any manner.
He admitted to have purchased a land parcel in Aligarh a few years ago for “investment purpose”, but said he had later sold that piece of land.
“The land was purchased for investment purpose and not for a meat processing unit. This way, I have purchased tens of land parcels for investments,” Som said.
The matter came to light after UP Cabinet Minister Azam Khan accused Som of asking for permit for a slaughter house.
A major political slugfest has erupted in Uttar Pradesh after a 50-year-old man was lynched by a mob in Dadri on rumours that he and his family consumed and stored beef.
After Dadri, situation has now also become tense in Mainpuri district after rumours of cow slaughter triggered violence, with protesters targeting police vehicles and setting afire shops.
The violence started after some persons spread rumours of cow slaughter in Karhal area with an intention to trigger communal tension in the town. However, the post-mortem report found that the cow had died of an ailment.
While cow slaughter is banned in various states, including UP, the ruling Samajwadi Party in the state has dared the BJP-led government at the Centre to ban beef exports.
While certain beef exports (including meat of cow, oxen and calf) is prohibited, the boneless meat of buffalo as also that of goat and sheep is permitted to be exported.
India is in fact the largest buffalo meat-exporting country globally and the quantity of meat exported from India has been increasing over the years and so has been the number of target countries for such exports.