The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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RSS joins ban bandwagon

New Delhi, Sept.7: A day after deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani called for a constitutional amendment to ban cow slaughter, the RSS jumped on the bandwagon to revive one of its pet issues.

Sangh chief K.S. Sudarshan said a national consensus should be evolved for putting an end to cow slaughter. He was addressing a two-day convention on cattle wealth-based economy at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) here today.

Sudarshan lobbed the ball in the Congress’ court, suggesting it could move a constitutional amendment that could be supported by the BJP and other parties.

“People’s movement should be strengthened to pressure political parties,” he said, adding that the government should implement the recommendations of the National Cattle Commission.

The Sangh leader did not place the cow slaughter issue in a socio-religious context, choosing to emphasise the economic aspect instead.

He blamed Jawaharlal Nehru for adopting the Western model of economy which, he said, ignored the rural economy.

“All means of livelihood in rural areas have been wiped out by large industrial units,” Sudarshan alleged.

Whenever the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has raised the issue, it has taken the stand that beef is an integral part of the diet of minorities and if they are to integrate themselves in the “Indian mainstream”, they should give up eating beef.

The VHP had launched an agitation to demand that abattoirs in Andhra Pradesh, from where beef is exported to Gulf countries, should be closed as they were an “affront” to “Indian culture”.

Sudarshan’s call was supported by another speaker at the IIT convention — minister of state for commerce and industry Raman Singh.

He pointed out that the Uttar Pradesh government had already legislated the ban and a “national movement” should be built on the issue.

Human resources development minister Murli Manohar Joshi, who was also present, avoided any mention of cow slaughter in his speech. Joshi has been trying to refashion his image from that of a Hindutva votary to a “liberal”.

He had criticised Narendra Modi for his remarks against the chief election commissioner. Joshi, who was synonymous with swadeshi ideology until recently, has also called for 100 per cent foreign equity in the print media.

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