Lok Sabha website censors BJD MP’s speech on beef lynchings

BJD MP Tathagata Satpathy on Monday lauded Goa CM Manohar Parrikar and MoS Kiren Rijiju for defending people’s food habits even as he slammed the Centre over growing incidents of cow vigilantism

Photo courtesy: Facebook\Office of Tathagata Satpathy
Photo courtesy: Facebook\Office of Tathagata Satpathy

Ashutosh Sharma

Several parts of a firebrand speech defending Indian citizens’ food habits in face of growing instances of cow vigilantism, delivered in Lok Sabha by Odisha MP Tathagata Satpathy on Monday, have been taken off the website of Lok Sabha. Satpathy had come down heavily on Centre over growing instances of mob lynchings, as he singled out Goa CM Manohar Parrikar and Minister of State (MoS) Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju for taking a stand in speaking up for people’s food habits. Ironically, the speech in its entirety is available on a YouTube channel on the Lok Sabha website itself.

Speaking in the Lok Sabha, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MP from Dhenkanal, Odisha, noted that increasing cow vigilantism was affecting the rural economy and poor farmers. He accused the government of supporting “evil deeds” at the cost of threatening the social fabric of the country.

Quoting article 48 of the Indian Constitution, he said: “Our love for cows is being misconstrued and twisted to unleash terror on unsuspecting Indians. This is an organised attempt at disruption and distraction from real problems that India faces today. This system, the powers that be want this house to do exactly what we are doing today. They want us to scream and shout and make a fool of ourselves. The school children who come and sit here, I was wondering, must have been thinking that we behave better in our classrooms than these elderly grey headed people behave here. What example are we setting when this is telecast live in the country?”

“It hurts me when even a single person is killed without any fault of his. I am not a cold-blooded person. If 150 persons die because they had to stand in front of the banks or ATMs, I can’t say that “it’s a small price to be paid for the country.”

“Every single individual Indian citizen is precious for all of us sitting in this house. If we don’t consider him as precious, we are all criminals,” he remarked, in an apparent reference to the fallout from demonetisation.

“Shiv Sena—which is the saffron ally of the ruling party, in its mouthpiece Saamana says: ‘Gaurakshaks have been playing the game of Pakistan to divide the Indian society. And most likely, gaurakshaks are being paid for by Pakistan.”

Satpathy added, “This is not a piece of report by some English newspaper. This is the very core of Savarkar’s Hindutva,” he claimed, and wondered if the stone-pelting had stopped in Kashmir after the demonetisation policy.

“If you can find the source of funding to stone-pelters, you can also find out the source of funding to gaurakshaks.”

Maintaining that even in these “dark times”, there are some sane voices in the government, he further said: “When (Manohar) Parrikar came in as Defence Minister of the Union, I could notice the gentleman sitting here visibly disturbed. Later, he went back to his state as chief minister, where his party didn’t even win clear majority. I started pondering why would he do that. What political sense would make a man give up such a post. Then I realised that the man is a gentleman. He is one person who as CM of Goa said: ‘if there is beef shortage’ I’ll import beef from Karnataka and Maharashtra to feed my people. Feeding people is the most important responsibility of a ruler elected democratically or otherwise.”

He also had words of praise for junior home minister Kiren Rijiju. “When he remarked that you must not equate your North-East with Bihar or Haryana or Uttar Pradesh, I fully endorsed his views. He is the man who has the guts to stand up for his food habits.”

“I’ve seen may politicians coming into power and then vanishing. Many parties come to power and they start thinking that they would stay in power forever. Today, the BJP is here, tomorrow they will be gone. And I can very easily and clearly see the demise,” he said.

“I agree, law and order is not a subject of federal government. We don’t want you to send central forces and force a state government to take a certain action. But overriding everything is the mindset that the union government propagates. You are at the helm of affairs in this country, what’s the image of India you are creating today,” the parliamentarian from Odisha questioned.

“The number of agrarian riots in the country has increased from 628 to 2683 in one year. I’ve a feeling that this year’s report will show an even sharper rise,” he remarked, citing official figures.

The truncated text of the speech available on the website of Lok Sabha can be read below:

Lynching is a very serious thing. Every single individual Indian is precious for all of us sitting in this House. What is the crux of the problem? Who sells the cows and bullocks? It is the poor Hindu farmer.

As long as a cow is milching and a bullock can till, no farmer wants to give up that animal. It is only when the animal gets older and is incapable of working that the poor Hindu farmer is compelled to sell the animals. Who buys it? It is an economic circle. It could be another Hindu or Muslim. Sometimes, it comes to Uttar Pradesh where it is killed, sometimes, it goes to Bangladesh and sometimes, it is done even in certain States within India. Now, I notice that these buyers have actually stopped going to our villages. They are scared. So, what is happening? Our farmers are unable to sell the useless animals. The economic cycle has been put to a stop. This would have been their cede money to get another loan. They are unable to get a loan to get another pair of bullocks. So, it has actually damaged the rural economy.

By this lynching process, a movement has started which will eventually kill the farmer. If a farmer keeps an animal which is useless, that animal eats dana (feed) of minimum Rs. 100 a day. Apart from that, farmers have to spend anything between Rs. 300 and Rs. 700 for medication to get the vet to feed him medicines or inject medicines. But let us acknowledge that our love for cow is being misconstrued and twisted to unleash terror on unsuspecting Indians. This is an organized attempt at disruption and distraction from real problems that India faces today.

The statistics released by the National Crime Record Bureau in its Annual Report 'Crime in India' reveals that in 2015 the number of agrarian riots has increased. The number of agrarian riots has increased by a massive 327 per cent. These are official numbers. These are little sparks but signs of a towering crisis.

Everybody has the right to privacy; everybody has the right to choose what he or she will wear, what he or she will eat, how he or she will live, and what languages they will speak. That is the beauty of this country. You cannot make this country a unified country according to your thought of unification. We are united, we were united, and we shall remain united for India; not for certain people’s dreams.

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