Five days after gau rakshaks brutally assaulted five men in Alwar district for transporting cows, resulting in the death of a 55-year-old dairy farmer, Minister of State Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi caused a stir in Rajya Sabha Thursday when he told the House that “jis tarah ki ghatna pesh ki ja rahi hai, aisi koi ghatna zameen par nahi hui hai” (the kind of incident that is being presented has not occurred on the ground).
The remarks by Naqvi, who is Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Minority Affairs, led to noisy scenes with the Opposition demanding the dismissal of the BJP government in Rajasthan. They said the lynching incident was “a clear case of gangsterism” in a state where there was “complete breakdown of the constitutional machinery”.
Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad told the House: “I am extremely sorry that the Minister is so ill-informed… even The New York Times knows about it, but the Minister does not know about it.” He referred to the Allahabad High Court’s reminder to the UP government on the secular umbrella. “But the Minister says it is all wrong. So ill-informed a government. So insensitive a government,” he said.
Amid chaotic scenes, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien sought a factual report from the government. “Mr (Madhusudan) Mistry has brought to the notice of the House an incident of a murder. The Opposition side is saying that and the Leader of Opposition is quoting from newspapers. If the incident has happened, then it is serious. But, if the incident has not happened and has been narrated here as if it has happened, that is also serious. Therefore, I would like to know the correct version. I am asking the Minister to convey to the Home Minister the need to inquire into it and report to the House. I want to know the truth.”
When Mistry of the Congress raised the issue of the Alwar attack and the killing of Pehel Khan, many from the Opposition backed him. He said gau rakshaks were carrying out searches of trucks in several states with impunity and without fear.
Referring to the Alwar incident, Mistry said the driver of the vehicle was let off since he was a Hindu and the others were assaulted. He said the man who was killed was involved in dairy farm business in Mewat. “They even showed them receipts..there are organised gangs… There is complete breakdown of constitutional machinery in the state. I demand that the Rajasthan government should be dismissed.”
Naqvi responded saying a message should not go to the country from the House that it was supporting cow slaughter.
“This issue is a very sensitive issue. A message should not go to the country from this House that we are supporting cow slaughter. The sentiments of crores of people are linked to this issue. Jo particular state ki baat kar rahe hain.. jis tarah ki ghatna pesh ki ja rahi hai, aisi koi ghatna zameen par nahi hui hai,” he said.
He said the “the media report that is being talked about” has already been “condemned” by the state government. He said the government does not and will not justify any act of anarchy or goondagardi.
Later, Naqvi told The Indian Express: “As far as the Alwar incident is concerned, nobody has the right to take the law into their hands. It is condemnable. The state government should take strong action. I have spoken to the state Home Minister too and told him that there should be strong action.”
“I don’t want to give the name gau rakshak or anything else. Whosoever be the anti-social element. How can you call everybody a gau rakshak? What I am saying that if an incident like this has happened, violence like this has happened, it is condemnable and the state government is taking strong action.”
On his remarks in the House, Naqvi said Mistry had taken the names of four-five states. “He said such things are happening in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, UP and then he talked about Rajasthan. So I only said the way he was painting a picture, it was not like that… I used the word anarchy and goondagardi and said action would be taken against them. And action is being taken.”
“Who has done it will be decided there. We condemn every such incident of violence and there is no place for such violence… nobody has the right to take the law into their hands… Who am I to say who has done it. I am not a police officer, I am not the investigating officer… neither am I the media. The police have registered an FIR. Action is being taken. There will be action against whosoever was involved,” he said.