Mumbai: The Shiv Sena, a ruling coalition partner in Maharashtra, as well as the opposition Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Thursday condemned an incident in Nagpur district where a man was allegedly thrashed by some people on the suspicion that he was carrying beef.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), on the other hand, sought to play it down, calling it a stray incident. “Lynchings of people over suspicion of carrying beef started in UP and it has now spilled over to our progressive state. To make the matters worse, this has happened in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) heartland. If this continues, there will be a chaos in the country," Sena spokesperson Manisha Kayande told PTI.
“How can it be that the prime minister warns gau-rakshaks, but (still) they ignore him? We think there is an ulterior motive behind this. An attempt is being made to shift the focus away from the Modi government’s failure to retaliate strongly against the terrorists who killed Amarnath pilgrims," she said.
The Sena leader also said that Maharashtra should have a full-time home minister. At present, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis handles the portfolio among other departments. “It high time that Maharashtra got a full-time home minister. The law and order situation has hit its lowest point in last three years," Kayande said.
BJP spokesperson Niranjan Shetty said that despite the prime minister’s warning, one cannot “get into the minds" of those resorting to violence. “One cannot get into the minds of these people. We condemn this incident, but one cannot term it a failure of law and order because this is a stray incident," he said.
“No party would support such actions. The accused do not have the right to beat anybody. They could have handed him (the victim) over to the police and the law would have taken its own course," Shetty added.
State Congress chief Ashok Chavan said the continuance of such incidents showed that “nobody takes the prime minister seriously". “More than 27 people have been lynched in the country. This issue is becoming serious with every passing day. It shows nobody takes the prime minister seriously." The Congress will raise the issue in the monsoon session of Parliament and the state Assembly and make this government answerable, the former chief minister said.
NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik asked if Fadnavis can ensure that such incidents won’t happen again. “After Gujarat and Haryana, now it is Maharashtra’s turn. The CM hails from Nagpur, so the gravity of the incident is greater. Will the CM ensure that this does not happen again," he said. The chief minister should enlighten the BJP and the RSS workers about the difference between cow meat and buffalo meat as the latter was not banned, the NCP leader said.
Salim Ismail Sheikh (31), resident of Katol town, was allegedly thrashed by a group of people on the suspicion that he was carrying beef at Bharsingi village in Nagpur district last night. The police have arrested four persons in this connection.