From condoms in JNU to defending Alwar’s cow vigilantes: BJP MLA Gyan Dev Ahuja’s many controversieshttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/cow-vigilantes-gyan-dev-ahuja-controversy-5273384/

From condoms in JNU to defending Alwar’s cow vigilantes: BJP MLA Gyan Dev Ahuja’s many controversies

The BJP legislator has defending the assault of people by cow vigilantes in the past and is a vocal critic of the Vasundhara Raje government.

BJP MLA Gyan Dev Ahuja
Gyan Dev Ahuja (Facebook page)

Among those leading the charge against the police over the recent lynching of Rakbar Khan in Alwar is BJP legislator Gyan Dev Ahuja. Ahuja has maintained that it is the police who are responsible for the death, and not the persons arrested in the case. The victim’s friend, Aslam, has alleged that their attackers claimed to enjoy the support of the BJP lawmaker, but Ahuja maintains it is something that has been pushed by the police.

“Would anyone say a thing like that? It is being fed to Aslam by corrupt IPS officers (Assistant SP) Anil Beniwal and (former Alwar SP) Rahul Prakash. Police are caught on the wrong foot due to their lackadaisical attitude and stupidity,” Ahuja said.

“Police beat him up. If he was severely injured then why didn’t the police immediately take him to the hospital? What did they do with him till 4 am? I have initiated action against Rahul Prakash,” the BJP lawmaker said.

Ahuja said he had been contesting elections for the past 25 years and “such a thing has never happened before”. The lawmaker claimed he would tell vigilantes to never assault anyone and hand the individual to the police.

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“So after 3-4 slaps, they hand over (the alleged smugglers) to the police,” Ahuja claimed. But this is hardly Ahuja’s first tryst with national headlines.

The JNU moment of fame for Ahuja

The MLA from Ramgarh, that lies in Alwar district, enjoyed a sudden rush of national fame in 2016 at the height of the controversy over anti-national slogans being shouted in Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University when he claimed that thousands of condoms and liquor bottles were found on the campus daily.

“There is a controversy over what I said but I stand by my statement. I personally practice a satvik diet and satvik way of life,” Ahuja said at the time.

Ahuja was first elected to the Rajasthan Assembly on a BJP ticket in 1998, then lost in 2003, then was re-elected in 2008 and 2013. Ahuja had also said in the past that he funded cow vigilantes to operate in his area.

The MLA, who has studied till class 12, says he’s a journalist on his official profile. Ahuja was managing editor of a now-defunct weekly called Mat Sammat.

Defending the killing of ‘cow smugglers’

The BJP MLA had defended the killing of Pehlu Khan, a farmer who died after being beaten by cow vigilantes in Alwar in April 2017.

“We should not take the law into our hands. But we have no regret over his death because those who are cow-smugglers are cow-killers, sinners like them have met this fate earlier and will continue to do so,” Ahuja had said outside the state assemby.

In December 2017, a man smuggling bovines was caught and assaulted in Alwar, and Ahuja reiterated that people caught smuggling cows could be killed.

Mera toh seedha seedha kehna hai ki gautaskari aur gaukashi karoge to yu hi maroge (I will only say that if you smuggle and slaughter cows, then you will be killed),” he said.

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Earlier this year, Ahuja’s name cropped up in connection with an audio clip that purportedly claimed he had made disparaging remarks about Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje’s administrative capabilities. Despite speculation that he could face action, Ahuja has remained unscathed in the party. Currently a vocal critic of the Raje government, Ahuja had quit from seven government committees in January 2017 for being overlooked for a ministerial post. However, he maintained he merely wanted to spend more time in his constituency.