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Rijiju against NE beef ban

Kiren Rijiju in Aizawl on Tuesday.

Silchar/New Delhi, May 27: Union minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju said in Aizawl today that beef should not be banned in the Northeast but the BJP declined to be drawn into the controversy.
Rijiju, who arrived in Aizawl last evening on a two-day visit, said India was a secular country where "food habits and practices of all religions must be respected.
"The faiths of Hindus should be respected in a Hindu-majority state, while other communities should also be given equal respect in their own dominant states," he said.

"We must respect the sentiments of Hindus when we visit Maharashtra or Gujarat where Hindus are in a majority. We should not do something there which can hurt their faith and sentiments. In the same way, when we visit a Muslim or Christian-dominated state, we should respect their sentiments," he said.
"Imposing one's beliefs, faiths and practices on another isnot good in a multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-communal country like India," the minister added.
Speaking to The Telegraph from Aizawl tonight, Rijiju said: "I don't eat beef in my house; my wife and children don't eat beef. How can I say that I eat beef? I just said we should not impose our practices and faith on other communities but respect the sentiments of the majority in the respective states."
The BJP, however, distanced itself from Rijiju's reported remarks on beef-eatingand maintained that since the issue involved "great religious sentiments", it should not be politicised.
Spokesperson Sambit Patra told reporters in New Delhi today, "As far as beef ban is concerned, it is a matter touching on great religious sentiments across the length and breath of the country. So I would not pull this issue in the political domain."
Asked if Rijiju had hurt sentiments, Patra said, "There is a religious feeling about this (beef-eating) in India. I have made it clear that it would be better if we do not use it for political debates. I would rather respect the sensitivities of people than answer it politically."
BJP sources said Rijiju was spoken to by his senior, home minister Rajnath Singh, and counselled to refrain from speaking on matters that impinged on the "core beliefs" of the party.
In Guwahati, DoNER minister Jitendra Singh, when asked about Rijiju's statements regarding the beef ban, distanced himself from the controversy.
"Instead of getting engaged or entangled in an avoidable controversy, we should focus our energy on development work and I am here to do that. I willrather keep myself away from an avoidable controversy," he said.
BJP president Amit Shah, in a recent interview to a magazine, had said a consensus would be required for a national ban on beef. He, however, said he believed in banning cow slaughter. Maharashtra and Haryana have imposed a ban on beef.
Rijiju also described as "very unfortunate" the frequent change of governors in Mizoram, saying that governors should not consider their posting in the Northeast as "punishment". "Northeast is also a part of India," he said.
He said he was disappointed with the way the governors resigned after being transferred to northeastern states. Asked about the reasons behind the sacking of a few governors in Mizoram after being sworn-in, the minister said they had been dismissed on "corruption charges".
Rijiju today inspected the ongoing construction of an integrated check post at Kawarpuchiah with Bangaldesh in southern Mizoram.
The minister said the Modi-led NDA government had been trying to stop discrimination against people from the Northeast in different parts of the country. He said special cells had been set up in all big cities to deal with cases of atrocities on people from the Northeast.