Former BJP leaders in Meghalaya organised a “bitchi-beef” fest to protest against the Central government’s new rules that aims to prevent sale of cattle for slaughter. The three Bharatiya Janata Party leaders – Bernard Marak, Bachu Marak and Wilver Graham Danggo – resigned after senior party leaders opposed their plans to organise a “bitchi-beef party” to celebrate three years of Narendra Modi government. Bitchi is the Garo word for rice beer.
“By hosting the fest, we wanted to show to the world that there is no law that can prevent our way of life and food habits,” said Bernard Marak, the former district president of the BJP in West Garo Hills. Most of the people who participated in the bitchi-beef party were mostly former BJP members, who slammed the new cattle trade and slaughter rules.
“Our Bitchi-beef fest is a strong message to our leaders to not intrude into our areas and not try to violate our local laws. And we having beef is a freedom we enjoy which should be respected by all outsiders. We are Garos, we are Christians. We are proud of the law of the land, our culture, custom, faith and practices,” he said.
“As a responsible leader, I cannot mislead the people and allow them (BJP) to impose the non-secular ideology on us. They cannot impose the beef ban in our state,” said Bachu Marak. Over 5,000 BJP workers from Garo Hills region, which has 24 seats of Meghalaya Assembly’s 60, had resigned from the party over the issue. Many more leaders have threatened to do if the rules are not rolled-back.
The BJP’s state chief Shibun Lyngdoh said: “The issue of cow slaughter is a state subject. The matter has been clarified by our leaders. There is nothing more to say.”