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Beef Shops Near Temples Causing Spike in Communal Tensions: Bengal RSS

"I have doubts. As per rule, only an unproductive cow above 15 years can be slaughtered. But in many places meat traders are violating norms and there is no way to keep a check."

Sujit Nath | News18.com

Updated:April 5, 2017, 8:12 PM IST
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Beef Shops Near Temples Causing Spike in Communal Tensions: Bengal RSS
More than cow slaughtering, increasing number of beef shops near temples is the main reason behind communal tension: Jishnu Basu

Kolkata: Buoyed by BJP’s victory in Uttar Pradesh, Jishnu Basu, General Secretary of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in South Bengal is busy with a mass reach-out drive.

He believes people in the state always liked RSS and are now fearless to discuss their ideology. So much so that he says many Muslims are joining the Sangh to serve the nation.

In a freewheeling conversation with News18’s Sujit Nath, Basu talks about RSS’ cow protection drive and says that since the law permits cow slaughter in the Trinamool Congress-ruled state, RSS will educate meat sellers and butchers about bovine-based economy apart from seeking assistance of the central government and asking BJP-ruled states to ban transportation of cows. Edited Excerpts:

Q There is a perception that after BJP’s impressive victory in Uttar Pradesh, the Hindutva project is targeting states like West Bengal where RSS and its allied organizations have traditionally been weak. Is it true?

Our presence was always there in Bengal but now people are discussing it without any fear. Our ideology is same but style of functioning has changed. We have increased our reach out across the state because some of the state leaders are indulged in jihadi activities. The issue was discussed recently in Coimbatore where we passed a resolution at Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha expressing concern over rise in Jihadi activities and declining of Hindu population in West Bengal. Our slogan is ‘End Jihad’ and we will continue to fight against the ruling party till we achieve our target.

Q  Is it true that Muslims are also joining Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in West Bengal?

Yes, though the percentage is smaller. Muslims are willingly coming forward to join the RSS. We got good response from Burdwan and Asansol regions. In North Bengal, one of our active members is a Muslim. We are not forcing anyone to join our organisation. They came to know about our service (in 1830 Sakhas), approached us and joined us to serve the people. I would like to clarify that we are not forcing our Muslim brothers to join RSS. We are hopeful that in coming years many Muslims will join us.

Q  Most states have banned cow slaughter. Will you have a similar campaign in West Bengal? How are you planning to go about it?

RSS has a unique idea to prevent cow slaughter in West Bengal by educating meat sellers and butchers about bovine-based economy. We can’t confront with the state government because cow slaughtering is legal here.
So we are planning to educate those involved in the meat industry. In Baruipur (South 24-Parganas), we are coming up with a model township on ‘Gau Seva’ (cow service). The 60-acre township will have organic vegetable farming, milk production and other products. We will show people how to generate revenue based on cow. Once they will realize that, slaughtering will be less. It is a daunting task but not an impossible one.

Q In UP, Yogi Adityanath government is conducting a drive against illegal slaughterhouses. Do you think meat industry in West Bengal is following the norms?

I have doubts. As per rule, only an unproductive cow above 15 years can be slaughtered. But in many places meat traders are violating norms and there is no way to keep a check. Like UP, there are several illegal slaughterhouses in Bengal but no one is bothered to take action. We will raise the issue with the central government. We will also request the UP government to prevent transportation of cows to Bengal.

Q  Over the past few months incidents of communal clashes have been reported in parts of West Bengal. What do you think are the reasons behind it?

The main problem is beef and atrocities on Hindu in Muslim dominated areas. More than cow slaughtering, increasing number of beef shops near temples is the main reason behind communal tension. This should be stopped. The state government can’t ignore the issue. Like Western UP, a large number of Hindus are migrating from Muslim dominated areas in Bengal. This year we are going to have extensive ground work to prevent mass exodus.

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| Edited by: Nakshab Khan
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