Union Minister of Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi has done something that may not go well with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Borrowing an idea from her activist days, she has written to the Defence Ministry, urging it to ban animal sacrifice. She has particularly tried to attack the issue of supply of hoof goats.
This has caused consternation in the defence forces as animal sacrifice is a normal practice on certain occasions and had evolved over a period of time as part of certain regiments. This is bound to be taken as an interference in internal matters of the Indian Army.
There are many regiments in the army where buffalo, goat and chicken are sacrificed on religious functions such as Vijayadashami (last day of the Dussehra festival). Goats are sacrificed on the day of Bakr-Eid. Top sources in the army said that such practices led to bonhomie among soldiers; they have come to be accepted by all soldiers. To ban this would be detrimental to the cause of the army.
Maneka has been an activist against cruelty to animals. Whether she would continue to be an activist while being in the ministry has raised eyebrows of other BJP leaders. Earlier she had embarrassed the BJP and Modi by asserting that her son Varun Gandhi would be a better person to lead Uttar Pradesh as chief minister. Not only was this a case of jumping the gun, but it also went against the now established principle of fighting nepotism.
It’s time Modi reined in the activist Cabinet minister. Army is sacrosanct for the BJP, more so since it harps a lot on undiluted nationalism.