The PDP-BJP government in Jammu and Kashmir skirted discussing bills against beef ban, saying there was a constraint of time. This comes as a surprise to many who were expecting a debate in the Assembly over the same, especially in the aftermath of an independent legislator, Engineer Abdul Rashid being thrashed inside the House by some BJP MLAs because he allegedly hosted a beef party.
Although the opposition demanded that the Assembly proceedings be extended in order to accommodate discussion on anti beef-ban bills, the government refused to budge. Three private members’ bills were moved by opposition National Conference, Engineer Rashid and CPI(M) MLA M.Y. Taragami, seeking omission of all sections from the Ranbir Penal Code, which make bovine slaughter and the sale of beef a criminal offence.
Rashid, who had been manhandled on Thursday, staged a sit-in on Friday at the gate of the Civil Secretariat in Srinagar, demanding revocation of sections from RPC which criminalises bovine slaughter and the sale of beef. He was detained by police saying that entry to the Assembly was blocked because of his sit-in. The Assembly is housed inside the premises of the Civil Secretariat.
The attack on Rashid was followed by a string of reaction from right wing lawmakers who said they would repeat such incidents if anyone slaughtered cows in the state. Opposition leader Omar Abdullah along with Congress and other political parties staged a walkout over this raging controversy. Abdullah said that had his MLAs not rescued Rashid, the latter would have been lynched.
Abdullah on Friday moved a resolution during zero hour in the J&K Assembly for maintaining of communal harmony. He described the assault as shameful, adding that the outrage of the BJP MLAs was not shared by the people of Jammu and Kashmir. His resolution was supported by the Leader of the House, Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed who said that the state had always stood for plurality and tolerance.
Meanwhile, voices are growing louder in the PDP condemning the alliance with the BJP. Most of the leaders are learnt to have told the party leadership to rethink the alliance after the recent lynching of a man in Dadri over the beef controversy. “After the Assembly session, we will try to hold a meeting of party leaders on all issues, including the growing intolerance in the state by some elements,” a senior PDP leader told this newspaper.
PDP MP of Srinagar Tariq Hameed Karra has appealed to CM Sayeed and party president Mehbooba Mufti to rethink on the alliance with BJP after the assault on MLA Rashid. “The growing hate politics of the right wing parties and the BJP has forced all the minorities in the country to think of an alternative. Our party has the duty to protect Kashmir. The attack on Rashid was an attack on Muslims,” a statement released by Karra said.