KATHMANDU (Web Desk) – Pakistan on Thursday strongly rejected propaganda reports that it had dispatched packets of ‘beef masala’ as part of relief aid sent to earthquake-hit Nepal – a Hindu-majority country that treats cows as sacred.
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Foreign office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam confirmed on Thursday there was no beef content in the ready to eat food dispatched by Pakistan to Nepal. Urging the Indian media not to ‘malign’ the humanitarian assistance effort in Nepal, Aslam said the people of Nepal really liked the food dispatched by Pakistan and even requested for more.
Earlier it was reported that Indian doctors at Kathmandu’s Bir Hospital told Mail Today that packets of ‘beef masala’ were sent by Pakistan on Tuesday as part of relief aid to the quake survivors.
These doctors – drawn from Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Hospital, Safdarjung Hospital and All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) – are members of a 34-member medical team sent to Nepal for treating the survivors.
“When we reached the airport to collect the food items from Pakistan, we found packets of ready-to-eat meals, including packets of ‘beef masala’. There were other food items too,” Dr Balwinder Singh was quoted as saying.
Perplexed, the doctors chose to have food from a hotel instead.
“We did not touch the Pakistani aid,” Dr Singh said. “Most of the local people are not aware of the contents. When they understand, they avoid it,” said another doctor on the condition of anonymity.
He added: “Pakistan has hurt Nepal’s religious sentiments by supplying the masala. Shockingly, it did not care about the sensitivity of the matter.”
A top Nepal government official said: “The matter has been conveyed to Prime Minister Sushil Koirala and the intelligence chief. We are also starting an internal inquiry to verify the facts. If the report is correct, we will raise the matter at the diplomatic level with Pakistan. India, being our key partner, will also be informed of the developments.”
According to Hindu belief, eating beef is a religious offence since the cow is a sacred animal and treated on a par with one’s mother. In Nepal – for long the world’s only Hindu state – the first royal order officially prohibiting cow slaughter stated that the punishments for the crime were death and confiscation of all property of the offender.
The first Civil Code of Nepal, the Muluki Ain of 1854, stated: “This kingdom is the only kingdom in the world where cows, women, and Brahmins may not be killed.”
It trumpeted Nepal as the ‘purest Hindu kingdom’ and simultaneously signaled to Nepalese citizens that Hindu religious creeds would be the law of the land. But an amendment in 1990 to the Civil Code made cow slaughter punishable by 12 years in prison.