Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Friday admitted that the Alwar incident — in which a Muslim man was thrashed by alleged cow vigilantes and later succumbed to injures — did happen and the Rajasthan government has filed FIRs. The statement made in Rajya Sabha comes a day after the minister stoked a controversy by stating on the floor of the House that the incident was not accurately presented.
Even as the Opposition rose in uproar, Naqvi tried to clarify his earlier statement by saying he was referring to the Congress’s charges that excesses were being conducted by alleged cow vigilantes in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat.
He also stressed that the Centre does not condone violence and hooliganism. "Criminals, murderers, goons or a rowdy should not be seen as a Hindu or a Muslim; a criminal is a criminal," he said.
Naqvi’s assurance that home minister Rajnath Singh would make a statement on the issue on Monday in Rajya Sabha did nothing to placate the Congress MPs who stormed into the Well, raising slogans. They demanded an apology from Naqvi for misleading the House. Leader of the Opposition, Ghulam Nabi Azad, also accused the minister of “misleading” the house and "undermining Rajya Sabha".
"The central government should not protect these kind of hooligans," Azad said.
He went on to say that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had last year spoken harsh words for cow vigilantes but actions on the ground seem to suggest that BJP workers have been given a free hand.
“A person accused of slapping someone is remanded to 14-day police custody but in this case, the accused have been remanded to just one-day custody, which indicates the intention to end this case," Azad said.
Madhusudan Mistry, MP from Gujarat, had on Thursday raised the issue of cow vigilantes in Alwar stopping a truck carrying cows from a cattle fair and assaulting its occupants, which led to the death of a Muslim man, Pehlu Khan.
In response, Naqvi had said that the incident was not being correctly presented, which infuriated Congress MPs and prompted deputy chairperson PJ Kurien to seek a report from the home ministry.