Avoiding a confrontation with an aggressive BJP in Agra, the Samajwadi Party government in Uttar Pradesh has agreed to the party’s demand for enhanced compensation for the family of VHP leader Arun Mahaur, who was killed on February 25.
Addressing a BJP rally in Agra on Friday, Ram Shankar Katheria, Minister of State for HRD and the party’s MP from Agra, announced that the state administration has “agreed to all our demands”, and also defended his earlier speech which was widely seen as provocative.
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Besides “Jai Sri Ram” and “Bharat Mata ki jai” the crowd raised slogans such as “Jis Hindu ka khoon na khaule, khoon nahin wo paani hai (the Hindu whose blood doesn’t boil has water running in his veins) during Friday’s rally.
The BJP had demanded a compensation of Rs 45 lakh for Mahaur, a house for his family, a government job for his wife, sought that the arrested accused be booked under National Security Act, and withdrawal of all cases related to hate speech filed against BJP and VHP leaders.
The cases were filed against three leaders for spreading religious enmity after The Indian Express had reported that several Sangh Parivar leaders had openly called for killing of Muslims during a condolence meet organised for Mahaur in Agra last month.
Mahaur, who came from a Dalit community, was killed allegedly by some Muslim youths. The saffron party claims Mahaur was killed by “cow slaughterers” since he was opposed to cow slaughter. The police refute the charge and say the murder was the result of a local rivalry.
While Katheria Friday said he was “pleased” that the state has agreed to withdraw all cases, he was unrelenting on his earlier speech. Smouldering from the that the issue was raised in Parliament, he told the crowd, “They said the minister delivers provocative speeches. If someone is killed, will I not give a provocative speech?”