After his “eat more beef” comment went viral after being published by various media, Meghalaya’s BJP minister Sanbor Shullai in a clarification said the comment “has been highly exaggerated and misunderstood”.
According to media reports, Meghalaya animal husbandry and veterinary minister Sanbor Shullai encouraged the people of the state to eat more beef than any other meat like chicken, mutton and fish while talking to reporters on Friday.
In a letter to Umakant Lakhera, the president of Press Club of India, New Delhi, Shullai clarified: “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.
Shullai, who is also holding home (passport & prison) and labour portfolios, clarified that the “beef comment” was particularly made 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 said the people of Meghalaya have a similar fear that if they vote the BJP to power the same would be applied in the state.
“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.
The minister said his only intention was to tell 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.
He assured the indigenous tribal people of Meghalaya that the “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”.
Shullai made the comment on beef weeks after Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma tabled the Assam Cattle Preservation , 2021, in the Assam Assembly to regulate slaughter, consumption and transportation of cattle.
The bill seeks to restrict the sale of beef in areas dominated by non-beef consuming communities and within a 5-km radius of temples and ‘satras’ (Vaishnav monasteries) formed by the 15-16th century saint-reformer Srimanta Sankaradeva.