Panaji: Congress legislator Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco on Saturday demanded police protection for beef importers, who have once again complained that cow vigilantes were stopping consignments of slaughtered beef from being brought into the state from neighbouring Karnataka.
“Even legally those who are legally importing beef, they are being harassed by cow vigilante groups and the government is promoting them,” Reginaldo told a press conference here, amid a fresh spate of beef shortage in the state, where nearly one third of the 1.5 million population belong to beef-eating minority communities.
The VHP aided by the Durga Vahini and the Bajrang Dal has plans to completely disrupt the transportation and consumption of beef to Goa by 2019, by using Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and other similar Animal Protection Acts, with the tacit support of the government machinery.
“All Hindus, Catholics, Muslims eat what they want. Why are such differences being created now? The beef shortage is being created by cow vigilante groups in Goa, who are backed by RSS elements,” the Congress leader said.
Anwar Bepari, president of the All Goa Qureshi Meat Traders association on Friday had said cow-vigilantes were forcefully stopping beef consignments from being brought in the coastal state, giving rise of shortage of the red meat in Goa’s markets.
“The cow protection groups are taking law in their hands and stopping our legally imported consignments. They have also beaten up some drivers, who are now scared to drive the trucks carrying slaughtered beef into Goa,” Bepari told IANS.
In January, beef traders in Goa went on strike alleging harassment by cow vigilante groups.
The strike was called off after an assurance from the Chief Minister, who directed the police to crackdown on ow vigilantes.
Goa on an average consumes around 20-25 tons of beef every day, according to Bepari. Though a third of its population and the tourism industry buy beef, Goa does not rear cattle for slaughter. It is entirely dependent on Karnataka for the daily 30,000 kg supply – 25,000 kg of which is brought across the border by road by the Quraishi association currently. Around 600 Muslim families living in Goa are dependent on the trade, says Bepari who wants the government to reopen the Goa Meat Complex to facilitate the trade