Rubbing salt into the wounds of Muzaffarnagar riot victims, SP leader and former MP Atiq Ahmed Saturday said those still living in the relief camps were “professional beggars”.
“In every class, in every society professional beggars are found. So, everyone knows that some of these beggars entered the riot camps,” Ahmed, recently re-inducted into SP, five years after being expelled for alleged anti-party activities, said. Ahmed, who is facing several criminal cases, said the victims were “given Rs 15 lakh and jobs, but the people being shown in the camps were professional beggars.” The comment drew flak from BJP, which said SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav has failed to instil a sense of decency and responsibility among his party leaders.
“Politics of communal polarisation appears to be in the DNA of SP, which has given a Lok Sabha ticket to history-sheeter Atiq Ahmed. BJP strongly condemns his statement… such an utterance is highly surprising,” said BJP leader Siddharth Nath Singh.
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A former MP from Phulpur, Ahmed has been named SP candidate from Shravasti Lok Sabha seat. Ahmed and his younger brother Ashraf have been named prime accused in the murder of BSP MLA Raju Pal, who was shot dead in Lucknow on January 25, 2005.
“This is not the first time that an SP leader has spoken insensitively about the riot victims from Muzaffarnagar. There seems to be no attempt by Mulayam or his son, chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav to instil a sense of responsibility and decency among those associated with the ruling party,” the BJP leader added.
The Akhilesh Yadav government has been facing flak for the plight of the Muzaffarnagar riot victims with several parties criticising the government over the difficult circumstances in the relief camps. The SP leadership recently came under attack over holding the annual ‘Saifai Mahotsav’ at SP supremo Mulayam Yadav’s native village Saifai at a time when hundreds of victims of Muzaffarnagar riots were braving the harsh winter.