Wednesday, August 25, 2010
'Cow slaughter bill is not anti-Islam'
The controversial Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill, 2010 which is now reserved for Presidential approval has taken centre stage in Karnataka. Not a day passes without a series of protests in the state opposing the act which was introduced by the Bharatiya Janata Party in Karnataka.
The BJP government in Karnataka led by B S Yeddyurappa is however adamant that the new act should go through and has even directed the state’s legal team to gear up for any legal battle that may come in the way of this act. The Muslims in Karnataka are however up in arms against this act and have vowed to oppose it since they feel that their food habits will change and will also cause a lot of unemployment in the state. In this backdrop, the only Muslim minister in the BJP government, Dr. Mumtaz Ali says that Muslims should not point a finger at the act. Dr. Ali who is the Minister for Wakf and Minorities Welfare in this interview with rediff.com that there is no harm in changing food habits and a ban on cow slaughter does not mean that people will stop surviving.
Do you have a different opinion when compared to your cabinet colleagues on the Cow Slaughter Bill?
I am a part of the government and cannot have a different opinion about it. I am in agreement of what the government has done regarding the Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill of 2010.
There is talk that this bill is anti Islam. Do you subscribe to that view?
It is not anti-Islam.
Looking the number of protests that are taking place in Karnataka following the introduction of this Bill, what in your view are the consequences?
The only consequence it will have is on the food habits of some people. For some people this is staple food. However this cannot be a reason to stop the introduction of such a Bill.
It is the Muslims who are most upset with this Bill. Being their representative in the Government what is your message to them?
My message is that we cannot oppose this Bill. The Muslims cannot raise a finger against it. There is a provision in the Constitution which provides for banning of Cow slaughter. Such an act is already in force in Karnataka since 1964 and the new bill only makes the punishment more stringent. The present bill prescribes stringent punishment.
Some of the Muslims have made a religious issue out of this Bill, but you say that the only consequence is change in food habits.
Yes I had said earlier too that this bill is not anti-Islam and the consequence it would have is on the food habits. Do you think that they will stop surviving if they don’t eat beef? No that will not happen. There is chicken, mutton, fish and a variety of other non-vegitarian dishes which they can chose from. Beef is not the last resort. Another thing which I would say is that beef is opposed to Brahmins and also the Lingayats. It is against their dharma. Why are some of the Brahmin and Lingayats, MLAs and MLCs opposing this Bill? Does such an act by them augur well with their dharma?
Is that all what this is about- food habits?
There is one point which I will draw your attention towards. The Government has done no wrong in going ahead with this Bill. However the introduction of this bill will cause a lot of unemployment among the Muslims. I will have talks with my colleagues on this aspect and ensure that the people who lose their jobs due to this act are properly rehabilitated.
Two years with the BJP, how do you think this government has treated the Muslims in Karnataka?
Speaking true to my conscience, the social and economic developments of Muslims under the BJP has been excellent. I have records to show that developmental works for the Muslims have been taken up very well. The government has introduced very valuable programmes which had contributed to economic development of Muslims. This is something that was not done during the Congress regime and what they failed to do in 60 years we have done in two. The next three years will only be better for the Muslims.
Lastly what is your view on the mining controversy?
The government has made it clear that it shall not tolerate illegal mining. The state has done what it should have done. The onus is now on the Union Government. Why is it not banning export of ore? They should come forward and take a decision on this.