Manohar Lal Khattar
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal KhattarIANS

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Thursday joined the league of BJP leaders who have time and again raked up controversy with their controversial remarks. Speaking to a national daily on Thursday, he said that Muslims should stop eating beef if they want to live in India.

Jawahar Yadav, Officer on Special Duty (OSD) to Haryana Chief Minister, however, claimed that Khattar never asked Muslims to give up beef. "Our CM didnt say anything like this, all he said was we should respect everyone. The newspaper which has posted this news piece has tried to put words in Haryana CM's mouth," Yadav told ANI.

In an interview with The Indian Express on Thursday, Khattar had said that "the cow is an article of faith" for majority of citizens in India and Muslims can avoid violating religious beliefs by not eating beef.

"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 had said.

"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," he said, adding, "freedom of one person is only to the extent that it is not hurting another person".

The chief minister made the comments while speaking about the Dadri incident, which according to him happened as the "result of a misunderstanding". 

He said the man in Dadri was lynched because he made a "loose comment" about the cow, a statement contrary to the fact that the mob killed the Muslim man over the rumours that he had slaughtered a calf and stored its meat at his home.

Mohammed Akhlaq made "halki tippani (loose comment) about the cow which hurt the sentiments of people who subsequently attacked him... But I say that attacking and killing the person was also wrong," Khattar said. "It should not have happened – from both sides," he added.

However, he apparently went on to justify the offenders by comparing the Dadri lynching with a man's anger against the killer of his mother or the molester of his sister. He said: "we have to go behind the incident and examine his manyata. We have to understand why he did what he did".

Khattar has recieved backlash from leaders of opposition parties, including AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi who has called him a CM with a "mob mindset".

Lalu Prasad too criticised Khattar's remark by commenting on his mindset.

Congress spokesperson Meem Afzal and Khalid Rasheed also condmened the remark. 

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