The Jammu and Kashmir Police have booked Bharatiya Janata Party leader Vikram Randhawa for hate speech after he asked his supporters to beat up Kashmiri Muslims and “skin them alive” for celebrating the Pakistan cricket team’s victory against India in the T20 World Cup match on October 24, The Wire reported on Tuesday.
The police booked Randhawa under Indian Penal Code Section 295-A for hurting religious sentiments and under Section 505(2) for promoting enmity between religious groups. However, he is yet to be arrested.
In a video posted on Twitter by Peoples Democratic Party leader Naeem Akhtar, Randhawa also demanded that the Indian citizenship of those who had cheered for Pakistan should be revoked.
He is also purportedly heard saying, “These 22 or 23-year-old girls who roam around in Jammu in veils, were in Kashmir throwing their jackets in the air and raising pro-Pakistan slogans. And these girls in the age group of 21-22 are praising Pakistan and have sympathy for the country in their hearts.”
Randhawa said that Kashmiri Muslim parents should realise that they have given birth to ungrateful children. “Those who are involved in these activities should be treated in a way that their coming generations too remember the result of raising anti-India slogans or pro-Pakistan slogans on Indian soil,” the BJP leader added.
Several Kashmiri students were booked following the Pakistan team’s victory against India in a T20 match. On October 26, students and staff members at two medical colleges in Srinagar were charged under the Unlawful (Activities) Prevention Act, an anti-terror law, for celebrating Pakistan’s win.
In Agra, three Kashmiri college students were jailed last week for allegedly shouting pro-Pakistan slogans following the country’s victory. The students had also reportedly written posts on social media in support of Pakistan.
Randhawa said that the agencies were doing a good job by arresting the students for supporting Pakistan.
“They [the agencies] are not taking it [celebrations in Kashmir over India’s defeat] casually,” he said. “Since the beginning, we have been demanding that not just their [academic] degrees be cancelled, their citizenship too must be revoked. They should be beaten up and skinned alive.”
In the video, he also asked Muslims to offer namaz on phones. “They used to divorce their women over phone, so why aren’t they offering prayers on WhatsApp also?” he questioned. “Why are they occupying roads?”
Opposition leaders have criticised Randhawa’s call for violence. In a tweet, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said no action was being taken against the former legislator “who calls for genocide of Kashmiris and to skin them alive”.
National Conference leader Omar Abdullah also sought action against the BJP leader. “He should be made an example out of and the law should deal with him firmly to dissuade others from being as abusive as this man has been,” he tweeted.
Jammu and Kashmir People’s Conference Secretary Imran Reza Ansari called Randhawa a “wannabe non-entity” trying to seek publicity with such comments.
Provincial spokesperson for Jammu and Kashmir National Conference Imran Nabi Dar said that Randhawa’s remarks could incite violence.
After the controversy, Randhawa claimed that the video being shared on social media was doctored, The Indian Express reported.
On Tuesday evening, the BJP removed Randhawa from all posts in the party and issued him a show-cause notice, NDTV reported. The party has also asked him to publicly apologise for his comments within 48 hours.
BJP’s state chief Ravinder Raina said Randhawa’s remarks were against the party’s principles, according to India Today. “The video came to the notice of the party and a show-cause notice was immediately served to him by the disciplinary committee as such a language cannot be tolerated,” he added.