Basant kumar Mohanty and J.P. Yadav, TT, New Delhi, April 6: A Union minister today said Parliament should not be seen as supporting slaughter. He was referring to the killing of cows, not of Pehlu Khan who was lynched in Rajasthan.
Responding to concerns that Khan was killed by cow vigilantes, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, who heads no less a ministry than minority affairs, said in the Rajya Sabha: "This is a very sensitive issue. No such message should go from this House that we are supporting cow slaughter. It is an emotional issue for crores of people."
Naqvi spoke up during Zero Hour when Congress leader Madhusudan Mistry raised the attack on dairy farmers by gau rakshaks (cow vigilantes) in Alwar on Saturday. Khan, 55, one of the five men attacked, died of his injuries on Monday.
Mistry demanded dismissal of the BJP government in Rajasthan. "It is complete breakdown of constitutional machinery in Rajasthan," he said.
The gau rakshaks had stopped all trucks on the national highway to check for cows, and found a cow and a calf in one.
"The gang asked the identity of the driver, who was a Hindu. The driver was let off. The other five persons, who are dairy farmers, were beaten," the Congress leader said.
Naqvi immediately stood up to respond.
"The honourable member has referred to an incident in a particular state. No such incident has happened on the ground the way the incident is being presented. The state government has refuted the media reports. We do not justify anarchy or hooliganism," Naqvi said.
Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said the minister was "ill-informed".
"I am extremely sorry that the minister is so ill-informed," he said.
Azad added that The New York Times had written about the incident today, saying "Hindu cow vigilantes in Rajasthan, India, beat Muslim to death".
The high court in Uttar Pradesh has reminded the state government of the "secular umbrella", he said, referring to the observation of the Lucknow bench that the crackdown on illegal slaughterhouses must not infringe on people's food habits.
"So, the high court of UP has taken notice of this. The New York Times has taken notice of this. The Indian media has taken notice of this. But the minister says it is all wrong. So ill-informed a government! I have not come across such an insensitive government," Azad said.
Deputy chairman P.J. Kurien asked Naqvi to convey the concerns to the home minister and get a factual report.
"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.... Let me know whether it is a fact or not," Kurien said.
When the same issue was raised in the Lok Sabha, home minister Rajnath Singh said: "Justice will be done in the case."
He added: "The Rajasthan government has taken cognisance of the incident. An FIR has been lodged. Some people have been arrested. I want to assure the House that even the central government will try and ensure justice is done in the case."