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Sanbor Shullai issues clarification on ‘Eat More Beef’ comment

SHILLONG, AUG 3 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 8/3/2021 12:18:17 PM IST

Meghalaya’s animal husbandry and veterinary minister Sanbor Shullai has gripped himself into controversy after his “eat more beef” comment went viral and was reported by various media houses. BJP minister Sanbor Shullai in a clarification statement said his comment has been highly exaggerated and misunderstood, reports The Sentinel Assam. 

According to reports published in the media, the Meghalaya animal husbandry and veterinary minister Sanbor Shullai in his statement encouraged the people of Meghalaya to primarily choose beef over any other meat like chicken, mutton, and fish. He told this on Friday while talking to reporters.

Following the controversy that had spread like wild fire, Minister Shullai clarified in his letter addressed to Umakant Lakhera, the president of Press Club of India, New Delhi, saying, “This is to clarify that the news item published in various media houses ranging from print-electronic and social media regarding the “Eat more beef comments” has been highly exaggerated and misunderstood.”

“The whole statement has been given a new dimension with few media houses editing the actual press briefing leading to a different interpretation of what was said by me,” the letter read further. Shullai, who is also holding home (passport & prison) and labour portfolios clarified that the “beef comment” was made particularly in context to Assam where a “ban on beef created a panic among the indigenous tribal and other communities in the state of Meghalaya, who consume it and consider beef as a staple diet”.

He further clarified that similarly like the tribal and other communities in Assam, people of Meghalaya have also undergone the same kind of fear that if they vote the BJP to power, then the same ban on beef-eating would be applied in the state of Meghalaya where it is a staple food for them. 

“So, to eradicate any such fears against the BJP, I wanted to tell the indigenous tribal people here in Meghalaya that they will be able to continue to eat more beef without the fear of any item being banned in the state of Meghalaya,” Shullai stated in his letter.

Minister Shullai further clarified in his letter that his only intention was not to hurt sentiments of a particular community but to inform the citizens of Meghalaya that “no such rule would ever come to affect the lives of the indigenous tribal people here in the state of Meghalaya and not for any other purpose”. 

“I hereby appeal to all the citizens of our country and to the people of the state of the Meghalaya that they should not get carried away by misquoted or misinterpreted news articles,” he said. 

Shullai further assured the indigenous tribal people of Meghalaya saying that “BJP is here to protect us and our unique heritage and that it will never interfere with the socio-cultural way of the people’s lives”. It may be mentioned that Shullai’s comment on beef came just weeks after Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma tabled the Assam Cattle Preservation, 2021, in the Assam Assembly. 

The bill attempts to regulate slaughter, consumption and transportation of cattle as it is of religious significance to the Hindus, a larger community residing in the state of Assam. Notably, the Cattle Preservation bill aims at restricting the sale of beef consumption in areas dominated by non-beef consuming communities and also within a 5-km radius of temples and ‘satras’.

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