The Gauseva and Gauchar Vikas Board of the Gujarat government put up billboards in Ahmedabad with a message, which it claims to be a verse from the Quran, preaching the Muslim community not to eat cow meat as it causes "several diseases".
The billboard has the picture of Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel and Islamic religious symbol – a crescent and a star – along with the verse "Akramul Bakra Fainaha Saiyedul Bahaima", that was translated as "Show respect to cows as it is the leader of all bovines. Its milk, ghee and butter have therapeutic properties and its meat is the cause of several diseases", The Indian Express reported.
A Mufti, who is a member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, said that their central religious text does not mention anything about consumption of cow meat.
"I have never come across such a verse in the Holy Quran. It is possible that it may be an Arabic statement, wrongly attributed to the Holy Quran. It appears to have been used to mislead Muslims," Mufti Ahmed Devlavi said.
Gauseva and Gauchar Vikas Board chairman Dr Vallabhbhai Kathiria, however, claims that he took the verse from the Quran translated in Hindi and Gujarati. "I got the verse and its translation from a 20-page booklet in Hindi and Gujarati," he said.
Kathiria, who is at the office of Gauseva and Gauchar Vikas Board in Gandhinagar, said that the holy scriptures were at his home in Rajkot.
The Gujarat government's claim that such a verse exists in Quran was refuted by another religious leader, Ghulam Mohammed Koya. The Quran does not mention anything about cow meat in the second chapter, Al Baqara, in which it only prohibits consumption of pig meat and non-halal meats, he explained.
The billboards were installed on the occasion of Hindu festival Krishna Janmashtami that was on 5 September. Gujarat government spokesperson and cabinet minister Nitin Patel denied having knowledge about the billboards that were put up by Gauseva and Gauchar Vikas Board, which comes under Agriculture and Cooperation Department of Gujarat government.