KATHMANDU, April 29: The Nepali Congress (NC) has proposed to retain cow as the national animal in the new constitution, arguing that removing the provision would provide a good exercise for Hindu extremist elements to intensify protests.
NC General Secretary Krishna Sitaula put forth the proposal during a meeting of three major parties and United Democratic Madhesi Front held at the CA building on Sunday.
“Though Hindu extremist elements are trying their level best to incited mass protests on different pretexts right since country was declared secular, their efforts have not been successful. But removing cow as national animal from the constitution could provide them a good excuse,” a leader present in the meeting quoted Sitaula as saying.
NC leader had argued that since such a move could give Hindu extremists an agenda to draw wider participation of the Hindus, the parties should not let such situation occur in any case. They maintained that this would not only disrupt social harmony, but also create major law and order problems.
Party leaders present at the meeting were convinced that removing cow as national animal may lead to open sale of cow meat, adversely affecting social harmony.
The Maoists and NC were at odds over the issue even while drafting the interim constitution back in 2007. While Maoist Vice-chairman Baburam Bhattrai was against retention of cow as the national animal, then Home Minister Sitaula had insisted on retaining cow as national animal. More than 80 percent Hindus worship cow.
Later, late NC President Girija Prasad Koirala and Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal had agreed to retain cow as national animal. On Sunday’s meeting as well, Dahal had admitted that he had agreed to retain cow as national animal after the talks with late Koirala.