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Claiming that Hindu scriptures do not term eating beef as a crime, an NCP leader today challenged RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat to debate on the issue.
Bhagwat had recently sought a pan-India ban on cow slaughter.
NCP general secretary D P Tripathi termed the activities of cow vigilante groups as "anti-Hindu" and claimed that had it been possible for them, these groups would have "jailed even the likes of Swami Vivekananda" for their views on beef and meat.
"Nowhere in the Vedas it is written that eating beef is a crime. It is not there in the shastras, the Vedas. I challenge Bhagwat or any of his representatives to come and a debate on the basis of all Hindu scriptures," the Rajya Sabha member argued.
Claiming that 80 per cent of the countrymen, including a majority of Hindus, eat meat, Tripathi said Bhagwat's idea of having a ban on cow slaughter is against the spirit of the Constitution.
He claimed Swami Vivekananda, whom Prime Minister Narendra Modi admires, was "not only a meat eater, but used to cook" non-vegetarian food.
"Had it been possible, these people (vigilantes) would have jailed these icons too," Tripathi said.
Speaking to reporters here, he also demanded that the Gujarat government repeals the "draconian" law passed by the Assembly that provides for life term imprisonment to those found guilty of cow slaughter.
Tripathi also said Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani should be immediately arrested for reportedly saying he is in favour of turning the entire state vegetarian.
The NCP leader contended that the Gujarat Animal Preservation (Amendment) Bill, passed on April 1, aims at "harassing" tribals, Dalits, Muslim and Christian minorities, considered as meat/beef eaters.
To a question on the latest violence in Kashmir, Tripathi claimed that the situation is resultant of the Centre stopping dialogue with stakeholders from Jammu and Kashmir.
He suggested the government to send an all-party delegation for at least a week's visit in the state to open dialogue with the stakeholders there.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)