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Adi Godrej: Nothing wrong with Hindus eating beef; ban affects business

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 12 May 2016, 12:16 IST

The beef ban in India, the world's largest exporter of buffalo meat, is stunting rural growth and affecting agriculture, said Adi Godrej, chairman of the Godrej Group.

In an interview with TheIndian Express, he said there was nothing wrong with Hindus eating beef as it was not really considered a religious practice.

"Some of the things are affecting growth, for example, the ban on beef in some states. (This) is clearly affecting agriculture, affecting rural growth. Because what do you do with all these extra cows? It is also affecting business, because this was a good source of income for many farmers. So that's a negative," Godrej told The Indian Express.

Largely, Muslims, Christians and Hindus from certain strata of society in India rely upon beef for their livelihood and for a cheap source for protein. The anti-beef laws have affected them badly.

"There is nothing against beef in our religion. It is a practice that evolved over years of drought, and elders said don't slaughter cows, preserve them for milk for children. That has turned into a religious belief. This is ridiculous. Vedic Indians were beef-eaters," said Godrej, being one of the few industrialists to openly voice concern over the strict imposition of ban on beef.

"In order to win elections and get women's votes, some states are doing that. Bihar has brought prohibition. Kerala has brought prohibition. Prohibition is bad for the economy," The Indian Express quoted Godrej.

The Bombay High Court recently decriminalised possession of beef brought from outside the state but upheld the decision of the Maharashtra government to ban slaughter of bullocks in the state.

Last year, President Pranab Mukherjee approved the Maharashtra Animal Preservation Bill, extending a ban on the killing of cows to bulls and bullocks, as they are considered sacred by Hindus. Under the law, a person can be jailed for up to five-years if found in possession of beef.

Violent clashes have broken out over the consumption and possession of beef. In September 2015 in Dadri, Uttar Pradesh, Mohammad Akhlaq Saifi, 52, was beaten to death on the accusation that he had beef in his fridge. His son Danish, 22, was also seriously injured.

First published: 12 May 2016, 11:49 IST