A Congress leader today alleged that many of the cow vigilantes blocking the entry of trucks carrying beef into Goa had the support of the BJP-led state government. Former Congress MP Francis Sardinha also said the state government should stop trying to “satisfy its bosses in the Sangh” and focus on the issues of public interest. “Many of these cow vigilantes are sponsored by the BJP-led state government. This is because the government wants to satisfy its bosses in the RSS,” Sardinha told a press conference at the state Congress headquarters here. He added that the Manohar Parrikar-led Goa government should stop trying to please its bosses in the Sangh and concentrate on the issues being faced by the common man. Beef traders across the state are finding it difficult to run their business as the supplies from Karnataka have come to a halt after the cow vigilantes, along with the police, began stopping the vehicles at the border. Sardinha said beef was a staple food in the coastal state and that it was a part of the cuisine of the minority communities. “Almost 50 per cent of the tourists, who come to Goa, eat beef,” he added. The Congress leader alleged that the cow vigilantes were harassing the beef suppliers, despite the fact that the imports from Karnataka were completely legal. “We live in a secular country and the government cannot dictate what the citizens should or should not eat,” he said, while demanding that the supply of beef resumed immediately.
Goa is facing a shortage of beef as the slaughterhouses in neighbouring Karnataka have refused to supply the meat till the government in the coastal state takes steps to stop the harassment by the cow vigilante groups. All Goa Qureshi Meat Traders’ Association president Manna Bepari had earlier said that the suppliers from Karnataka categorically said that they would “not resume the supplies till action is taken against the so-called cow vigilantes”. He had also said that around 25 tonnes of beef were brought from Belagavi every day.
Cow protection groups, including the “Gau Raksha Abhiyaan”, have alleged that the beef in Goa is brought from illegal slaughterhouses in Karnataka, a charge denied by Bepari. The non-availability of beef had resulted in a rise in the prices of mutton and chicken in the state, Bepari had said. Gau Raksha Abhiyaan leader Hanumant Parab had earlier claimed that cattle were being slaughtered in abattoirs across the border, without an approval from the authorities.