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Kangana Ranaut, actor and BJP election candidate, denies eating beef

An Indian actor running for election as a candidate for the ruling party has been forced to deny eating beef. Kangana Ranaut, a vocal supporter of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said the claims by her opponents are “shameful” and “baseless rumours”.

The issue of beef consumption is highly sensitive in India as cows are considered sacred by Hindus, the country’s largest religious group. Some BJP politicians have pushed for bans on cattle slaughter.

Ranaut, an award-winning Bollywood star who has featured in some of India’s highest grossing films, responded after an opposition politician claimed she had previously eaten beef.

Several social media users shared screengrabs of what they said were old posts from Ranaut’s account as supposed proof of that claim. India elections 2024: Vote to be held in seven stages

The allegation is potentially damaging for the actor, who is seeking to make her formal entrance into politics in the coming weeks as a BJP candidate in northern Himachal Pradesh state.

Writing on X, formerly Twitter, she said: “I don’t consume beef or any other kind of red meat, it is shameful that completely baseless rumours are being spread about me, I have been advocating and promoting yogic and Ayurvedic way of life for decades now such tactics won’t work to tarnish my image.

“My people know me and they know that I am a proud Hindu and nothing can ever mislead them.”

Renaut, 37, signed off her post with the phrase “Jai Shri Ram”, a proclamation of the Hindu faith.
Cattle production and consumption in India is a highly contentious issue and has led to violence from so-called cow protection vigilante groups, primarily against members of the country’s Muslim minority.

Despite widespread local restrictions on the industry, India is one of the world’s largest beef producers, due primarily to its water buffalo market – a species which is exempt from many of the bans.The BJP’s previous attempt to implement a nationwide ban on cattle slaughter was overturned by India’s highest court in 2017. Several BJP-ruled states have banned the sale and consumption of beef.

The party – which is led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and draws its support from the country’s Hindu population – is on course to perform strongly in the upcoming elections.

Ranaut is no stranger to controversy. In 2020, at the height of her fame in Hindi cinema, she made a series of serious allegations against people in the industry.

In 2021, her account on what was then Twitter was suspended for alleged incitement to violence after she urged Mr Modi to “tame” an opposition leader.

Source: BBC

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