The Bharatiya Janata party leader Himanta Biswa Sarma said a many people in Northeast eat beef and even though BJP is against cow slaughter, the party wants to maintain the cultural diversity of the country. Assam’s education and health minister was talking to the media ahead of the two-day BJP national executive meeting in Bhubaneswar. He said the majority of people in Northeast worship cow, “But when it comes to the Northeast, where a large population exists that eat beef, the BJP’s commitment is to maintain the cultural diversity of India,” Sarma said.
Talking about the remarks of the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat who called for a ban on cow slaughter across the country, Sarma said it was in line with what Mahatma Gandhi said. “I believe that Bhagwatji and the Sangh are very much aware of the diversity of the country. I think when they ask for a ban, they have asked for the mainland, I don’t think they are asking for it in Jammu and Kashmir or in the Northeast,” Sarma said. “The Sangh too appreciates the cultural diversity of the country. As an individual, I feel that rampant cow slaughter should be stopped. Because this is what Gandhiji has also asked for… All along our freedom movement Gandhiji, the most secular person of our time, built that tempo. Why are people forcing us to go against Mahatma Gandhi?”
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He said that in such a diverse country it is not possible to implement a ban so early. “The only issue here is of cultural diversity in some parts of the country. Within the Northeast too there is diversity on this issue, for example in Assam there is a strong feeling that there should be a ban on cow slaughter but in neighbouring states, there are people who eat beef. So in our country, it is diverse, and within the Northeast also there is diversity, so maybe to implement a ban all India may not be immediately possible,” Sarma said.
Speaking about the proposals in the new population policy for the state, Sarma said the draft policy has many incentives and disincentives. “You cannot go and preach on the need to have population control measures when you yourself are not following it. If you have a set of twins after your first child, you will not come under the ambit of this policy etc. But for SC/ST, we will give some relaxation as the state has not been able to provide educational facilities in the same way to these areas as others, so we will have to be actually careful about that,” he said.