Calling the Dadri lynching incident as "wrong" and a "result of a misunderstanding", Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Thursday said "Muslims can continue to live in this country, but they will have to give up eating beef” as “the cow is an article of faith here”.
"Muslim rahein, magar is desh mein beef khaana chhodna hi hoga unko. Yahan ki manyata hai gau (Muslims can continue to live in this country, but they will have to give up eating beef. The cow is an article of faith here)," Khattar said in an interview to Indian Express.
Describing the Dadri lynching incident unfortunate, he said "It should not have happened – from both sides."
Besides, he claimed that the victim made a "halki tippani" (loose comment) about the cow which hurt the sentiments of people who subsequently attacked him in his reference to Dadri death.
"Eating beef hurts the sentiments of another community, even constitutionally you cannot do this. The Constitution says you cannot do something that offends me, I cannot do something that offends you," the chief minister said in response to the observation that preventing people from eating food of their choice was an infringement of their constitutional right.
"They can be Muslim even after they stop eating beef, can't they? It is written nowhere that Muslims have to eat beef, not is it written anywhere in Christianity that they have to eat beef," he said.
Haryana CM's reprehensible statement: "Muslims can live in this country but ..." He shd know: India belongs as much to Muslims as to Hindus— Sudheendra Kulkarni (@SudheenKulkarni) October 16, 2015
On the other hand, Khattar also said: "But I say that attacking and killing the person was also wrong", adding those who were responsible for it could be prosecuted under several sections of the law.
In the interview, the chief minister went on to compare the incident with a man who sees his mother being killed or his sister getting molested, and his anger against the perpetrator getting the better of him.