NEW DELHI -- Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah on Sunday summoned several party leaders after Prime Minister Narendra Modi was reported to be upset with their public statements on cow slaughter in India. Those summoned for the meeting included Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar, MP Sakshi Maharaj, MLA Sangeet Som, and Minister of State for Agriculture Sanjeev Balyan.
"The party president has warned them against making such statements. Such controversies in a way derail the development agenda of the party as well as the Modi government," according to a party source quoted by PTI.
Their controversial remarks deflected the attention from the Samajwadi Party dispensation and turned the spotlight on BJP, according to PTI.
"We were here to meet BJP President, had discussion regarding party matters," said Som to ANI after the meeting.
All four BJP leaders had made several incendiary statements against following the murder of a 52-year-old Muslim man in Dadri, Uttar Pradesh, under allegations that he had slaughtered a cow and consumed beef.
While Sakshi Maharaj had said on Saturday that political leaders would get beaten up if they hurt religious sentiments, justifying the assault on MLA Engineer Rashid inside the Jammu & Kashmir assembly earlier this month, he had also called Samajwadi Party's Azam Khan a "Pakistani". He also called for death penalty to those who are found slaughtering a cow.
Sakshi Maharaj arrived for a meeting with BJP President Amit Shah, meeting underway. pic.twitter.com/ImDpibyO1r— ANI (@ANI_news) October 18, 2015
However, Maharaj claimed that Shah did not ask him for any explanation at the meeting. "Mujhse koi safaayi maangi hi nahi aur maine koi safaayi nahin di (He didn't ask me for an explanation and neither did I give him one)," he told ANI.
Meanwhile Union Minister Sanjeev Balyan last week had challenged Congress to ban cow slaughter in Kerala. He had earlier termed the Dadri killing as “wrong and unfortunate” but "spontaneous act", warning against "giving communal colour" to the brutal murder. he also called it "too minor an incident" for PM Modi to give a statement.
We were here to meet BJP President, had discussion regarding party matters: Sangeet Som pic.twitter.com/2ZOWgUphCY— ANI (@ANI_news) October 18, 2015
Som had allegedly said that a "befitting reply" will be given if "innocents were framed", reported The Indian Express.
He apparently made statement to a group of people outside the village temple, “Agar nirdoshon ke khilaf karyawahi ki gayi, to munh-tod jawab hamne pehle bhi diya hai aur abh bhi dena jante hain (If action is taken against innocent, we have given a befitting reply earlier and can do so again). We can give a reply whenever we want.”
Meanwhile Haryana CM Khattar had said earlier that Muslims can stay in India as long as they give up beef. "Muslim rahein, magar is desh mein beef khaana chhodna hi hoga unko. Yahan ki manyata hai gau (Muslims can stay but in India they have to give up beef. The cow is revered here)," he told The Indian Express during an interview, a recording of which you can hear here. He later apologised for his comments, but the damage had been done.