A day after Minister of State for Minority Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi drew flak for denying the lynching of a man in Alwar, he said that he was referring to incidents in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. Naqvi’s clarification came after the Congress staged a protest in the Rajya Sabha and demanded an apology, reported PTI.
Naqvi on Friday acknowledged that a man had been lynched in Alwar, Rajasthan and said that an FIR has been registered against six people. “We do not justify anarchy and hooliganism,” he added.
However, after the assault on April 1, none of the attackers had been arrested. The police had booked the victims on charges of cow smuggling. On Wednesday night, three people from the mob – seen in a video of the attack that went viral – were arrested after the police registered an FIR charging an unidentified mob with unlawful assembly, wrongful restraint, causing hurt and culpable homicide, among other charges.
Naqvi assured the House that the present government has never discriminated against anybody. “Criminal, murderer, goon or a rowdy, we should not see them as a Hindu or a Muslim as a criminal is a criminal,” said Naqvi, He added that the incident was a “sensitive” one that needs careful handling. “Otherwise a wrong message will go out, disturbing peace and harmony,” said the minister.
The Congress protested when Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien said there was no merit in their demand for an apology. Naqvi also refused to apologise. But the Congress members continued to raise slogans like “Sadan ko gumrah karna band karo (stop misleading the House)“ and “mafi mango (apologise)”.
Naqvi told the Rajya Sabha that Home Minister Rajnath Singh will make a statement on the matter on Monday. To this, Opposition leader Ghulam Nabi Azad raised questions on why the Upper House – where the Bharatiya Janata Party does not have majority – was being undermined by the government. He said since the home minister made a statement on the Alwar lynching incident in the Lok Sabha on Thursday, the minister of state for parliamentary affairs should have done the same in the Upper House. “I am very sorry. This government should take Rajya Sabha seriously,” said Azad. Kurien has already asked Home Minister Singh to submit a report to the House.
On Thursday, Naqvi had denied that any such incident of cow vigilantism had taken place as reported by the media. “The concerned state government has already condemned the media reports,” he had said in the Rajya Sabha. His statement was a response to Congress MP Madhusudan Mistry’s concerns about so-called “gau rakshaks” (cow protectors).
The Opposition leaders had raised the death of a 55-year-old man, who was brutally beaten in Alwar after a group of cow vigilantes accused him of smuggling bovines. Pehlu Khan had succumbed to his injuries on Tuesday. He, along with four others, were attacked by gau rakshaks affiliated to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal on April 1.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Friday gave the Rajasthan government three weeks to file a response to the Alwar lynching. The court has also asked the governments of Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka and Gujarat to respond to rising incidents of cow protectionism.