The opposition to eating beef was not about anyone in particular, but reflected the feelings of the Haryanvi society, says Khattar.
The Haryana government is willing to create a special dispensation to enable foreigners to eat beef in the State, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has said.
The State government had introduced a stringent law banning the sale and eating of beef as well as trafficking and slaughtering of cows, with rigorous imprisonment of three to 10 years for violations. President Pranab Mukherjee approved the law in November 2015.
Mr. Khattar said the opposition to eating beef was not about anyone in particular, but reflected the feelings of the Haryanvi society which did not want to eat it. Foreign expats working in the State could get a special licence for beef.
“If we have to work out some facility for them [foreigners] to be able to [consume beef]… we will do it. It could be a special licence… [as] whatever is licensed, no one can oppose [under] the law,” Mr. Khattar said. “Everyone has a personal lifestyle for eating and drinking, especially those who come from abroad … we don’t have any opposition to that. In fact, we are not opposing this for anyone,” Mr. Khattar said.
Similar permits and licences are granted for foreign nationals by the government in Gujarat where alcohol is banned, for instance.
While Haryana has many big-ticket foreign investments in the automobile and services sectors, it is aiming to secure new investment commitments worth Rs.1 lakh crore over the tenure of his government. Most of the investors are expected from Japan and China, according to Mr. Khattar, who just returned from Japan where he met top investors such as Suzuki. Beef is a key part of the diet in these countries.
“There is no issue over that between the Japanese and us… nothing like that… That won’t be a problem. They [investors] haven’t raised it either,” he said.