It takes a different kind of talent to share the stage with controversial MP Asaduddin Owaisi and yet emerge as the sole headline-grabber for making communally-charged statements. Last week, Minister of State for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi managed to do just that when he asked beef-loving Indians to seek refuge in Pakistan. “If you think that you can’t live without eating beef, [know that] you won’t get it in this country. Go to Pakistan instead,” he said at a conclave organised by a TV channel.
Though beef consumers in India cut across religious lines, those behind the supply chain are largely Muslims. So it was interesting that the platform chosen by the MoS to make the statement was a discussion about the state of minorities under the Modi Government.
Higher-ups in the NDA administration quickly sought to defuse the tension. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley issued a rejoinder the next day saying that government policies were not affected by such remarks. It’s not the first time his party has thought of pushing dissidents across the border, though. Naqvi might find it comforting to be in the hallowed company of senior BJP leader Giriraj Singh. Last year, Singh had proposed the same for those opposed to Narendra Modi.