Mumbai: In a television special program broadcast in the run up to the 2014 general elections in India, part of which has been uploaded on YouTube, Prime Minister Narendra Modi can be seen stating that "some of his Jain friends too are associated with the beef export business".
"I have some Jain friends. They too are associated with this business", Modi is seen as saying in the video.
Modi's statement was made in response to the question posed to him by the anchor of the ABP News special program titled "Ghoshna-Patra Mein Narendra Modi".
During the program, the anchor while pointing out that beef export flourished even during the last BJP-led NDA government and asked Narendra Modi why his government did not take any action.
Narendra Modi's response, as shown in the video, was.
"Mere kayi Jain mitra haien.. joh is vyapaar mein haien.... (I have some Jain friends. They too are associated with this business)."
The 20-second video was posted on YouTube first by Media Watch on April 23, 2014 - the time when campaigning for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls was at its peak.
The YouTube history shows the video was re-uploaded by Akash Jain on Sep 13, 2015 and once again by Holy India on October 05, 2015.
Prime Minister's admission that his Jain friends are associated with the beef export business is important in the wake of the ruckus created by the Jain community members while demanding a ban on mutton and beef during their festival, and the lynching of a 50-year-old Muslim man in Dadri, Greater Noida on mere rumors that he had consumed beef.
Also, Modi during the 2014 Lok Sabha election campaign has referred on several occasions about 'Pink Revolution'. In Maharashtra and some other states where the BJP came to power after Modi became Primi Minister, the government banned beef and salughter of calf, despite the fact that cow slaughter was already illegal since 1976.
However, there are reports which show that association of non-Muslims in the beef and meat export business is not a secret. While few days ago, media exposed BJP MLA and one of the front leader of anti-beef campaign Sangeet Som with documents showing his links with at least two leading halal meat exporters, there are ample evidence to show how non-Muslims are earning huge profits not only by beef export but also by engaging in other related trades.
"As against the curb on beef and calf slaughter if they are by Muslims in Maharashtra and other states, in BJP-ruled Goa, beef is a staple diet of the people and the same BJP which is supporting anti-beef campaign in other parts of the country does not show any interest to impose a ban", Altaf Ansari, an activist, said.
Interestingly, totally against the promises made by Narendra Modi during the 2014 election campaign, beef export under his government has registered growth which is reportedly 15% more than what it was during the Manmohan Singh government.