SRINAGAR – In Indian-held Jammu Kashmir, several BJP lawmakers beat up an Independent MLA Sheikh Abdul Rashid – who had hosted a beef party on Wednesday, the Indian channel NDTV reported.
Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has condemned the assault saying, “You cannot manhandle an MLA.” “I don’t approve of what has happened, but the way he organised the beef party at the MLA hostel was not right,” said Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh of the BJP, which partners the Mufti’s People’s Democratic Party or PDP in governing Jammu Kashmir.
The entire Opposition walked out in protest. “They are killing people in broad daylight and if our members had not saved Engineer Rashid they would have killed him inside the house,” alleged an angry Omar Abdullah of the National Conference. Last week, a mob lynched a Muslim man in an Uttar Pradesh village over rumours that he had slaughtered a calf and eaten beef.
The son of a local BJP leader is among those arrested for the man’s murder. The incident caused nationwide outrage and has re-ignited a political debate over beef-eating. Rashid had hosted a party on the lawns of Srinagar’s MLA hostel on Wednesday, where guests were served beef dishes.
He explained that he meant to offend no one and just wanted to send out the message that “no courts or legislature can prevent the people from eating what they want”. There has been massive controversy in Jammu and Kashmir after the state’s High Court ordered the strict implementation of a law that bans beef.
Separatists and religious organisations say the ban is an interference in religious affairs and has sought its revocation. The Supreme Court is now hearing the matter.