CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 22 September 2018

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Hardline beef with assisting flood victims

New Delhi (UCAN): Swami Chakrapani Maharaj, leader of the All India Hindu Assembly, a hardline Hindu organisation, said it would be a “major sin to give any relief and support to those flood sufferers in Kerala who are beef eaters.” He appealed to the Indian government and Hindus in general not to provide relief to flood-hit victims in Kerala who eat beef, as the cow is a revered animal in Hinduism.
 
He told the media on August 23 that those who slaughter cows and consume its flesh should not be given relief of any sort after heavy rains pelted the southern Indian state last month.
 
“Before giving any assistance, one should ask the victim whether they have ever eaten cow meat, and then in accordance with their answer, relief should be decided on,” he insisted, adding that aid should only be dispensed to beef-eating flood victims who consent to sign a legally binding form promising they will refrain from consuming beef for the rest of their lives.
 
Catastrophic floods and landslides from August 14 to 18 killed an estimated 400 people. Another 1.3 million have been displaced and have southgt refuge in relief camps where they subsist on donated food and clothes.
 
Cow slaughter is banned in most Indian states but Kerala is in the minority as beef is legally available there is a staple even among Hindus.
 
“It is not just because of some untimely monsoon. The state of Kerala has been stuck with nature’s fury because of the sins of beef eaters,” Chakrapani claimed.
 
Bhavana Sharma, a relief worker, said that some divisive elements like Chakrapani have been “making their presence felt everywhere” across India for some time.
 
“Now when all are rising above the barriers of caste, colour and religion to help flood-hit Kerala, these groups of fanatics are out to divide people and propagate toxic views,” she said, noting that such views have started to creep into social media posts.
 
Yet this has not stopped donations from pouring in from Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians.
 
Relief has been pouring in from the federal government as well as from the private relief organisations and the governments of 26 of India’s 29 states have contributed $243 million (US$31 million) to Kerala’s relief department to provide victims with immediate help.

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