New Delhi: The cow protection brigade of the BJP has got a new ministry to man — the Ministry of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries, which has been segregated from the Ministry of Agriculture.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday allocated this new ministry to Giriraj Singh, who had last year endorsed RSS leader Indresh Kumar’s remarks that a ban on cow meat consumption would bring down the crimes of the ‘Satan’, referring to incidents of mob lynching.
In 2015, he had sought to differentiate between cow and goat meat eaters, drawing an analogy with a man’s relationship with his wife and sister.
“Would those who eat goat meat consume dog meat if they are offered? Indians do consider their relationship with mother and sister as sacred… In the same way we should approach gau mata with the same reverence,” he had told The Indian Express.
To assist Giriraj Singh in manning the new ministry, the Modi has assigned two deputies — Muzaffarnagar riots accused Sanjeev Kumar Balyan and VHP and Bajrang Dal leader from Odisha, Pratap Chandra Sarangi.
Balyan has been outspoken in his views against cow slaughter. He had said that the murder of Mohammad Akhlaq in Dadri, Uttar Pradesh, on the suspicion of beef consumption should not be seen as a communal issue.
“I don’t want to link this issue with communalism. This is a social issue and is attached to the emotions of the Hindu community. It is better to see the issue from this angle,” Balyan had said.
Sarangi was the Odisha state coordinator of the Bajrang Dal when the RSS-affiliated outfit’s role had come under the scanner after Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two sons were burnt to death in 1999. Bajrang Dal activist Dara Singh was one of those convicted for the murder. Sarangi had, however, denied the role of the Bajrang Dal in the killings in his deposition to the D.P. Wadhwa commission, which gave a clean chit to the outfit but noted Singh’s involvement in the cow protection movement.
Singh, Balyan and Sarangi, who are expected to push their cow protection agenda in the new ministry may get a helping hand from some other ministerial colleagues, too. One of them is Prahalad Singh Patel, the Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Culture and Tourism, who has been a known votary of a ban on cow slaughter.