Raipur/Allahabad/Hyderabad: "We will hang those who kill cows," Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh declared today as no end seemed in sight to the row over enforcement of beef ban and crackdown on illegal slaughter houses in Uttar Pradesh.
"Does such a thing happen in Chhattisgarh? I don't think it has happened in the last 15 years (of BJP rule). If it happens, we will hang those who dare do it," Singh told reporters in Raipur. He was responding to queries by journalists whether his government would, like Yogi Adityanath's in UP, take a tough stand on cow slaughter.
Slaughter of cow, buffalo, bull, bullock, calf, and possession of their meat is banned in Chhattisgarh. Transport, export to other states for slaughter is also banned. These offences attract same punishment of 7 years jail and fine up to Rs 50,000.
Meanwhile, amid shortage of meat in UP following the clampdown on illegal abbatoirs and retail shops running without licences, AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi accused the BJP of "hypocrisy" over beef ban.
"In UP, cow is mummy, and in the northeastern states it's yummy. This shows BJP's hypocrisy. While they are talking about beef ban in UP, they have said there would be no such thing in the northeast.
"Assembly elections are going to be held in three states in the northeast. Beef is easily available in (BJP-ruled) Goa.
You tell me what is this," he told a TV news channel.
Uttar Pradesh Health Minister Siddharth Nath Singh, meanwhile, said the crackdown on illegal slaughter houses was aimed at making them compliant with the court guidelines and questioned why the erstwhile Akhilesh Yadav government sat on the issue for three years.
"We are bemused to hear Akhilesh Yadav's complaint that carnivorous animals in zoos of UP are suffering because of shortage of meat. He should tell the people of the state why he failed to make slaughter houses compliant with the guidelines issued by the Supreme Court and the National Green Tribunal," Singh told reporters in Allahabad.
The minister said the guidelines were issued in 2014.
"Akhilesh Yadav's Samajwadi Party lost power only last month. They had three years to fix the abattoirs running across the state. In that case, there would have been no reason for us to spend our energy on this matter. But they did nothing. So, the responsibility fell on our shoulders," he said.
On the crackdown affecting those employed in the meat industry, the minister said, "Slaughter houses will be allowed to resume business the moment they get due licences and make necessary improvements in their operations and waste disposal arrangements.
"Moreover, retail meat sellers have not been hit. This I say on the basis of my own observation as my Assembly constituency Allahabad (West) is home to a number of meat shops," he said.
Soon after assuming office, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had ordered strict enforcement of the ban on cow slaughter and smuggling. Slaughter of buffaloes for meat is, however, allowed in the state. Buffalo meat trade in the state has been badly hit by the clampdown on illegal abattoirs.