New Delhi: Claiming that Hindu scriptures do not term eating beef as a crime, senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and MP on Tuesday challenged RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat, who had recently sought a pan-India ban on cow slaughter, to debate on the issue.
NCP General Secretary D P Tripathi while terming the activities of cow vigilante groups as "anti-Hindu", claimed that had it been possible for them, these groups would have "jailed even the likes of Swami Vivekananda" for their views on beef and meat.
"Nowhere in the Vedas it is written that eating beef is a crime. It is not there in the shastras, the Vedas. I challenge Bhagwat or any of his representatives to come and a debate on the basis of all Hindu scriptures," the Rajya Sabha member argued.
Claiming that 80 per cent of the countrymen, including a majority of Hindus, eat meat, Tripathi said Bhagwat's idea of having a ban on cow slaughter is against the spirit of the Constitution, according to PTI.
He claimed Swami Vivekananda, whom Prime Minister Narendra Modi admires, was "not only a meat eater, but used to cook" non-vegetarian food.
"Had it been possible, these people (vigilantes) would have jailed these icons too," Tripathi said.
Speaking to reporters here, he also demanded that the Gujarat government repeals the "draconian" law passed by the assembly that provides for life term imprisonment to those found guilty of cow slaughter.
Tripathi also said Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani should be immediately arrested for reportedly saying he is in favour of turning the entire state vegetarian.
The NCP leader contended that the Gujarat Animal Preservation (Amendment) Bill, passed on April 1, aims at "harassing" tribals, Dalits, Muslim and Christian minorities, considered as meat/beef eaters.
Tripathi's statement came days after NCP Supremo Sharad Pawar said RSS leaders would found nothing wrong if bovine animals were killed for meat if they became a ‘burden’ on farmer.
Recalling indu Mahasabha leader Vinayak Savarkar, Pawar said that he had termed cow as ‘just a useful animal’ and would found nothing wrong if bovine animals were killed for meat if they became a ‘burden’ on farmer.
The NCP leaders' assertions are in line with the ummid.com survey on the issue which found that Muslims earn peanut, government, Hindus benefit most from animal slaughter in India. The survey also found that 40% of meat consumed locally, rest all are exported to other countries.