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HindustanTimes Thu,17 Apr 2014

SP sacks Kamaal Farooqi over Bhatkal comment

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, September 05, 2013
First Published: 16:06 IST(5/9/2013) | Last Updated: 01:37 IST(6/9/2013)

The Samajwadi Party on Thursday sacked Kamaal Farooqui from the post of party secretary in the wake of his controversial remarks on the August 29 arrest of Indian Mujhadeen (IM) co-founder Yasin Bhatkal.

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Farooqui kicked up a political storm on August 30 when he asked on national television whether Bhatkal was arrested because he was a Muslim.

Although Farooqui apologised for the comment, opposition BJP and the Congress bayed for his blood and, on Thursday, senior party leader Ram Gopal Yadav shot off a letter informing him that party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav had removed him as the secretary of the SP national executive with immediate effect.

Rivals were quick to correlate Farooqui’s statement with SP’s minority appeasement bid ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and with the 2012 assembly poll manifesto promise of “trying to release those Muslim youths who were falsely accused in the name of anti-terror action”. Akhilesh Yadav government had moved court for release of several terror-accused Muslim youth, but the court had taken a strong objection to it.

“Anyone who goes against the party would face disciplinary action. He won’t be spared,” SP’s state spokesperson Rajendra Chowdhary told HT on Thursday.

Farooqui, however, told HT over phone that he had not received any written or verbal communication about it. “I never spoke as the spokesman of the party at the channels,” he said. He added that he would soon meet SP president Mulayam Singh Yadav to explain the situation.

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