Rajeev Singh - Officer-in-charge,
Sakchi Police Station
Earlier this week Jeetrai Hansda was arrested for his post on Facebook from two years ago, which speaks about his community’s right to eat beef. Hansda, a tribal activist and professor in Jharkhand spoke about his community’s right to eat beef as a part of his cultural heritage. His arrest is the most disturbing sign of our times and needs to be checked before it unravels the very fabric of our democracy.
It appears that Hansda was arrested on the basis of a complaint filed against him in June 2017 by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s student wing Akhil Bharati Vidyarthi Parishad.
What is even more deeply concerning is that this comes soon after the new Government has been announced and soon after the Prime Minister set the tone for inclusive politics and the need to ensure minorities are not sidelined - by emphasising on the need for ‘sabka vishwaas’ - or everyone’s trust.
We as a people have a varied food culture -- Right from people who refuse to eat even roots, to those who eat pretty much anything that moves. Herein lies our cultural diversity. A number of tribal communities across the country culturally conduct animal sacrifice and eat beef. As do other segments of society.
What people and cultures choose to eat or not is a part of their tradition and collective wisdom, and this right needs to be collectively respected and safeguarded. We need to be tolerant and inclusive of people with their differences. On that note, we need to urge the police officer in charge to release Jeetrai Hansda from this illegal arrest with immediate effect.