'Muslims and Christians should understand that the cow is sacred to us. It is not good for health. They should eat something else.'
'Our mission is cow development. We want to produce rivers of milk. The cow should be sacred among people. It should be the national animal.'
The BJP's cow protection crusader Mayankeshwar Singh speaks to A Ganesh Nadar/Rediff.com
Mayankeshwar Singh is the national convenor of the Bharatiya Janata Party's cow development cell.
Last August he led a delegation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking national legislation against cattle slaughter.
Singh, below, left, spoke to A Ganesh Nadar/Rediff.com about his crusade to save the "sacred" cow.
When most states were not slaughtering cows but only bulls and oxen, why are you insisting on banning the slaughter of bulls and oxen too? Hindus don't worship bulls and oxen.
We are protecting cows. We want to protect nature and the environment. We are interested in the progress of villages and employment in villages. You get milk and dairy products from cows.
Cow urine and dung can be used for so many purposes. They are a solution to many problems.
Cow protection is our aim. We have said it in our election slogans.
Why have you left out the water buffalo then? Why is there no ban on buffalo meat?
The cow is sacred, the buffalo is not.
The BJP is the only political party that supports cow development.
When you say cow dung is required for bio-gas, is buffalo dung not useful for the same bio-gas?
Yes, it can be used. But my mission is cow development. We want to produce rivers of milk.
The cow should be sacred among people. It should be the national animal.
There is a Rashtriya Gokul Mission Yojana. Rs 500 crore (Rs 5 billion) is being spent to take care of cows at the block level.
What about exports? Why are we not banning the export of beef?
Is it not wrong that you are depriving beef to Indians and killing the animals for export?
We are banning only cow slaughter. There should be no cow meat in beef exports.
It is the government's policy to allow beef exports and we are not objecting.
We are sending cattle to Bangladesh, but cows will not be allowed. We have all drunk cow's milk, we cannot kill it.
How can the State decide what people eat and what they should not eat?
We are only saying don't eat what we consider sacred. Millions of people believe this. The cow eats grass and gives us milk. People are drinking liquor and not milk.
Some of your supporters claim that pig slaughter is not allowed in Pakistan and therefore cow, ox and bull slaughter must not be allowed in India. We are a secular nation. How can you ban something which Muslims and Christians eat?
We are all human beings, Muslims and Christians included. They should understand that the cow is sacred to us. It is not good for health. They should eat something else.
With a ban on beef, don't you think other meat products like goat and chicken will become expensive and so will vegetables?
How do you plan to control inflation because there are a large number of people who eat beef and when you stop the sale of beef, those people will demand other meat items. What is the BJP doing about that?
We have to change our habits. Inflation will be controlled by the government. We will see that people have enough to eat at affordable prices.
What about unemployment? How will you tackle the problem of unemployed people due to the beef ban? What is the alternate for them? Will the BJP government do something about this issue?
Unemployed butchers will be employed in other industries. They will be employed in our dairies which we will start in every village, every panchayat, every block and every city.
Many old bulls are of no use to farmers. They sell them to butchers and with that money they buy younger calves.
When you don't allow farmers to sell these old bulls, what alternates are you providing them?
The government will give pension for old cows. After they die, they will be buried. The farmers will get a subsidy to buy new cows.
You have said you will set up gaushalas (cattle shelters) everywhere in the country. How can a farmer transport old bulls to the gaushala? Who will pay for this?
Gaushalas will have ambulances. They will come and collect the cattle.
Can you tell us what kind of industry turnover you think cow urine and dung can give in the future? Has there been a successful case study?
India has 32,000 gaushalas now. One cow eats Rs 32 worth of food every day. It gives 4 to 5 litres of milk every day. It also gives 3 to 4 litres of urine and 4 to 7 kgs of dung. Milk is sold for Rs 35 a litre.
With dung you can make soap and phenyl. Urine can be used for making medicines. You can see it gives 6 to 8 times profit.
On top of this we are giving a subsidy to buy cows initially. Cow banks and a cow protection force will be set up.
Cow hostels will also be set up. You can leave your cow at the hostel. You can collect milk from there. Urine and dung will be for the hostel.
India's first gaushala in Madhya Pradesh took three years to complete at Agar, Susner district. After bringing in this law, how soon can any state give land for gaushalas?
Cows are there in every village in India. There is land for them in every village.
Once the Centre makes the law, the states will give land. It is a long process. It will take time, but it will be done.
How will you provide fodder for these cattle? How will this economy work? How many people do you plan to employ for this entire effort all over India?
There is no village in India with less than 1,500 to 2,000 people. We are giving 100 people employment in the dairy industry. They will look after the cows.
This will help them understand our culture. This is our plan that the government has to implement.
In states like Kerala, West Bengal and the north-eastern states, the cow is also slaughtered. Does the BJP plan to bring a central bill in Parliament to ban cow slaughter all over the country?
We do not have our government in Kerala and West Bengal. When we have our state governments, we will ban it.
The central law will be there, but individual states can do what they want.