New Delhi, Jun 1: Defending BJP-ruled states banning beef, Minority Affairs Minister Najma Heptulla today said sentiments of the majority community, which has special feelings for cows, should be "respected" and accused Congress of appeasing only the minorities when in power.
"I have one principle in life, I should not hurt anybody's sentiments. You are talking about the sentiments of minority community. Shouldn't we also think of the sentiments of the majority community?" Heptulla said.
She was asked about the ban on beef in some states at a a press conference organised on the occasion of inauguration of Central Waqf Bhawan here.
The minister said there are people who have "special feelings for cow, and those sentiments of the majority community should also be respected".
"What is there, after all, in food? You can eat anything. But if you are prohibited to eat one thing why should you feel so hurt? By hurting some other people's sentiments you eat it, it is not fair. I am of that view.
"Unfortunately, the previous government had always talked of the sentiments of minority. But, we should also look at the sentiments of my neighbour," she said.
BJP-ruled Maharashtra and Haryana recently banned slaughter of cows and its progeny and even sale of beef. The minister also termed as "unfortunate" the recent incident of communal violence in Atali village near Faridabad in Haryana and said such incidents should not happen.
"We should live harmoniously, the fabric of our country is such," Heptulla said, adding that she had already discussed the incident with Minister of State for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.
Talking about the Atali incident, Heptulla said constitutional principles have to be upheld and the government should act against those who work against its spirit.
To a question on encroachment of Waqf properties, Heptulla said a Bill in this regard was with the Standing Committee of Rajya Sabha, which would provide the legislation powers required to free such properties from illegal encroachers.
Heptulla said that these encroachments would not have happened in the first place had proper attention been paid to this issue in the past six decades.
When asked how many Waqf properties were encroached, Heptulla said, "approximately 40 per cent".
She said Modi government was honestly trying to do things which earlier only appeared to happen on paper.