CHANDIGARH: Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, who has stirred up the controversy over beef ban by saying that Muslims in India have to give up cow meat in the course of an interview with the Indian Express, went into an overdrive on Friday first denying, then explaining and eventually apologising for his comments about the minority community.
Khattar had also brushed aside the violent killing of a Muslim man in Dadri as a “misunderstanding” by saying that the fault lay with both sides — both Mohammad Akhlaq who was lynched by a mob and his murderers. He said the victim had made some casual remarks about the cow that Hindus hold sacred.
“Muslim rahein, magar is desh mein beef khaana chhodna hi hoga unko,” Khattar said. He said no individual’s personal liberty can come before the nation. No one has “unlimited liberty”. His comments have sparked off a heated political debate on eating habit versus religion — always a sensitive subject in plural India.
“They can be Muslim even after they stop eating beef, can’t they? It is written nowhere that Muslims have to eat beef, nor is it written anywhere in Christianity that they have to eat beef,” Khattar had said.
As soon as media outlets headlined the comments, Khattar went into a defensive saying that his words have been distorted.
“My words have been distorted. I never made such a statement. But if the sentiments of anyone have been hurt with my words, I am ready to express my regret,” Khattar said.
The Chief Minister’s Advisor Jawahar Yadav even said that Khattar never made such a statement.
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