New Delhi: Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma has hit out at Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi accusing him of giving a "political slant" by making "inflammatory" statement on beef exports.
"My attention has been drawn to your public statement regarding the meat export policy alleging that the Central Government is promoting slaughter of cows and export of beef, which is inaccurate, inflammatory and misleading," Sharma said in his letter to Modi.
"It is unfortunate that in spite of the factual position, you have chosen to give a political slant to Government`s stand on meat export policy. Public discourse on policy matters must never be allowed to be trapped in partisan political agenda," Sharma added.
In his Janamashtami message through his blog, Modi appealed to the people to reject `pink revolution`. He said the UPA Government led by Congress is "promoting slaughtering of cows".
Sharma said, "You are well aware that slaughter of cows is prohibited in India in harmony with principles enshrined in our Constitution".
He said meat is largely a by-product of livestock, utilising spent animals at the end of their productive life.
"Cattle and buffaloes which account for over 60 per cent of meat production, are primarily reared for milk and towards the end of their productive life, are utilised for meat production. A ban on meat production or export would lead to an abnormal rise of unproductive animals which is inconsistent with sound animal husbandry practices," Sharma said.
He said it would also cause loss of employment to millions of people belonging to the weaker sections of society, engaged in meat production and export.
Sharma contended that during the NDA regime in 2003-04, nearly 3.5 lakh tonnes of buffalo meat was exported from India.
He said the UPA government recognised the need of regulating meat export and has made registration of processing plants with APEDA mandatory since 2004.
The minister said if any incident has happened in Gujarat, the responsibility of action lies with the state government.
"I hope that being the Chief Minister of a large State, you will exercise prudence and restraint while commenting on sensitive issues of public policy," he added.