THERE IS considerable unease in the Congress leadership over the party’s government in Madhya Pradesh invoking the stringent National Security Act against three persons arrested on charges of cow slaughter.
Speaking to The Indian Express, former Union minister Salman Khurshid said “prima facie it does not seem the right thing” and demanded that the Kamal Nath government clarify the move. Former Karnataka minister Roshan Baig asked what message was the state government trying to send. Former MP CM Digvijaya Singh said he didn’t think NSA should apply to cases of cow slaughter.
The issue was also raised at a convention organised by the Congress’s minority cell in Delhi Thursday. But Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who addressed the gathering, was silent on the issue — he referred to Madhya Pradesh but only to claim that the state government will “oust RSS people one by one from the government institutions”.
Three days ago, MP police invoked the NSA, which allows preventive detention for a longer period, against three persons, Nadeem, Shakeel and Azam, after arresting them on charges of cow slaughter in the communally sensitive Khandwa town.
“I can only say both morally and legally, I can’t understand. But I don’t know the facts on which it was raised and why this is being resorted to. I think there should be a clarification that must come from the government so that we understand it better. Prima facie, I can’t seem to understand what this is all about,” Khurshid said.
“The best is some clarification came from the government or some explanation. I have no idea about what were the facts under which it was done. Prima facie, it does not seem the right thing. But I am sure they must have had some reasons and therefore I think it would be useful if they would let that reasons be known so that it can be then considered further,” the senior Congress leader said.
Condemning the MP government’s action, Baig said: “If there was some violation, cases could have been booked against them…but why was NSA invoked.”
“What message are you trying to send. If our own government comes and does this…we respect the sentiments of other religions….but invoking NSA was not right. That was not required. I condemn it. I have been in public life, I have been a 7-time MLA. I have been a minister of 15 years. I also understand the arithmetic of all this. I understand the behaviour and attitude of this transportation of animals also. If some kind of a fear should be there, alright, you book a case. But was it necessary to invoke NSA on them?” Baig said.
“Mera mat yeh hai ki kisi bhi prakaran mein kanoon ki kaunsa dhara lage, yeh police par nirbhar karta hai… Main nahin samajhta koi gau-hatya mein national security ka masla is mein aata hai (It is my understanding that which section of the law should apply to which incident depends on the police… I don’t think cow slaughter comes under national security),” Digvijaya Singh said.
Former Rajya Sabha MP Rashid Alvi said he would talk to CM Kamal Nath. “Law should be the same for everybody. If anybody has committed anything wrong, then law should take its own course..NSA should be invoked against those if there is a threat from them to the national security. But what happened in Madhya Pradesh…there is a need to reconsider it…if the issue is only about cow, then it should be reconsidered,” he said.
Addressing the minority convention, former Maharashtra minister and MLA Arif Naseem Khan said if MP wants to invoke NSA against those involved in cow slaughter, it should also slap the same charges against those who kill “innocent Muslims in the name of cow protection”.
“In Madhya Pradesh, our government has invoked NSA against three persons. We don’t want to oppose that act. We respect people of all religions…. our Hindu brothers, if they respect the cow, we accept that… and every Hindu and Muslim should respect that. But at the same time, if you invoke laws like NSA for cow protection in states ruled by us, then NSA should also be invoked against those who kill innocent Muslims in the name of cow protection. They should be sent to jail. Because it is because of these things that there is insecurity among Muslims,” he said.
NSA against two more
The Madhya Pradesh Police on Thursday invoked the National Security Act against two persons who were booked last week for illegal transport of cows in Agar Malwa district.
Mahboob Khan, a resident of Ujjain district, and Rodmal Malviya, a resident of Agar Malwa, were released on bail after their arrest under the state’s prohibition of cow slaughter legislation on January 29.
Agar Malwa SP Manoj Kumar told The Indian Express that the duo, in their 30s, had been booked for similar offences in the past. He said when it was confirmed that the two were habitual offenders, he decided to recommend their detention under the NSA that allows detention for a longer period. He said after the district collector endorsed his recommendation, the two were arrested and sent to jail on Thursday. —Milind Ghatwai