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7 Jun 2017

BJP rebel cites Bible on beef

TT, Tura/Shillong, June 6: A BJP leader in Meghalaya who quit the party last night quoted the Bible today to defend his decision and assert that the Centre's stand on beef could not be accepted in a Christian-majority state.
In a statement addressed to the media, Bachu Marak, who was the BJP's North Garo Hills district president, said: "The Hindutva ideology which they are imposing on a Christian state cannot be accepted. We are Christians by birth and our Holy Bible suggests that we consume beef. The Christian community as a whole cannot accept the BJP mandate which hampers our culture, tradition and food habits."
Marak referred to Genesis 18:7-8. "Then he (Abraham) ran to the herd and selected a choice, tender calf and gave it to a servant, who hurried to prepare it. He then brought some curds and milk and the calf that had been prepared, and set these before them. While they ate, he stood near them under a tree," the verse says.
The bone of contention is the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Market) Rules, 2017, which bans the sale of cattle in the market for slaughter. Bachu's statement said the new rules directly or indirectly banned the slaughter of cows and the sale of beef.
The leader said the beef ban was the reason for his resignation. "I resign from the party for dishonouring my culture and traditional practices."
Bachu's decision, which comes close on the heels of BJP West Garo Hills president Bernard Marak's resignation, also over the beef ban, has set alarm bells ringing for the party at a time it has been expanding its base in the Northeast.
There is strong resentment in the Garo hills against the BJP's state and central leadership and many party leaders and members are likely to follow suit. "At least 4,000 BJP members will resign from the party," Bachu told The Telegraph .
"I had no plans of contesting the Assembly elections (next year). I was working to strengthen the BJP's base in the Garo hills. The party leadership has failed to acknowledge our hard work and sentiments," he said.
"As a Garo, it is my responsibility to protect the interests of my community. Eating beef is a part of our culture and tradition. The imposition of the BJP's non-secular ideology on us is not acceptable," he added.
Asked if he was contemplating joining another party in Meghalaya, Bachu said: "As of now, I have no such plans whatsoever."
The BJP's Meghalaya minder, Nalin Kohli, said the resignation would not have any impact on the party.

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