Modi says animal slaughter will 'ruin' nation

Published April 4, 2014
Part of an Indian flag is projected behind as India's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi addresses a rally in Patna, Oct 27, 2013. — Photo by AP
Part of an Indian flag is projected behind as India's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi addresses a rally in Patna, Oct 27, 2013. — Photo by AP

NEW DELHI: Indian election frontrunner Narendra Modi, the vegetarian Hindu nationalist tipped to be the next prime minister, warned on Thursday the country's expanding meat industry will lead to its "ruin".

With the campaign heading into its final days before the marathon nine-stage vote begins on Monday, Modi assailed the meat industry and accused the Congress-led government of pursuing a "pink revolution", referring to the colour of meat.

"The pink revolution is a program to ruin the country," Modi told his supporters at a rally in northern Uttar Pradesh state.

India's booming middle class with rising disposable incomes is driving the demand for meat in a country which traditionally has had a large vegetarian population.

With chicken a favourite, domestic poultry sales are worth an estimated $9 billion and growing at an annual rate of 20 per cent. India is also one of the world's largest meat exporters.

Cows are considered sacred by Hindus, who form the majority religion in India, but Modi spoke out against all forms of animal slaughter.

"Slaughter houses are getting subsidies to export meat (and) a poor farmer is now slaying his animals," he said in televised comments from the city of Ghaziabad, on the outskirts of the national capital New Delhi. "Instead of focusing on increasing agricultural produce, the government is hellbent on ruining the animal wealth of the nation," he said.

Modi, chief minister of prosperous western Gujarat state, has been campaigning on a platform of reviving the nation's faltering economy and creating jobs. His statements against animal slaughter could rattle the country's Muslims, who are big meat eaters and account for some 13 percent of the population.

Many Muslims view Modi with suspicion because of his hardline Hindu nationalist rhetoric and deadly anti-Muslim riots that swept his state 12 years ago just after he took over as chief minister. — AFP

Opinion

Editorial

Border clashes
19 May, 2024

Border clashes

THE Pakistan-Afghanistan frontier has witnessed another series of flare-ups, this time in the Kurram tribal district...
Penalising the dutiful
19 May, 2024

Penalising the dutiful

DOES the government feel no remorse in burdening honest citizens with the cost of its own ineptitude? With the ...
Students in Kyrgyzstan
Updated 19 May, 2024

Students in Kyrgyzstan

The govt ought to take a direct approach comprising convincing communication with the students and Kyrgyz authorities.
Ominous demands
Updated 18 May, 2024

Ominous demands

The federal government needs to boost its revenues to reduce future borrowing and pay back its existing debt.
Property leaks
18 May, 2024

Property leaks

THE leaked Dubai property data reported on by media organisations around the world earlier this week seems to have...
Heat warnings
18 May, 2024

Heat warnings

STARTING next week, the country must brace for brutal heatwaves. The NDMA warns of severe conditions with...