Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath sent a legal notice of defamation to National Conference state spokesperson Junaid Azim Mattu for “a habit of spreading hate against the Bharatiya Janata Party” and “spreading false stories” about the CM by attributing derogatory statements to him.
“UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath has sent a legal notice of defamation to National Conference state spokesperson Junaid Azim Mattu through counsel for Government of India, Abhishek Atrey, for ‘a habit of spreading hatred against the Bharatiya Janata Party’,” the NC said in a statement on Wednesday.
The legal notice alleges that Mattu made such statements to cause “intentional” hatred among the people towards the BJP and the Uttar Pradesh chief minister, thereby directly inciting hatred against the Uttar Pradesh government.
It has been demanded that an apology be published within two weeks in favour of BJP and Adityanath, failing which, legal action would be initiated.
Mattu said he would not be deterred by such “cowardly acts”.
“Those who have openly incited violence against Muslims are ironically sending a legal notice to me for defamation. It seems that Adityanath has mistaken notoriety for reputation. He has used intimidation and harassment as political weapons in Uttar Pradesh. He has openly threatened Muslims of serious consequences and defamed them. I will respond to the notice through my lawyers. They are examining it and will respond in an appropriate manner,” he said.
The NC spokesman described the BJP as an “anti-minority, especially anti-Muslim” party, which believed in “selective morality”.
“It encourages hate speeches as it finds it politically expedient (to do so) and has the audacity to hold others to completely different standards,” he said.
Asserting that he was proud of his identity “as a Kashmiri and as a Muslim”, Mattu said the NC was committed to mounting a “strong, unapologetic” fight against “these forces of tyranny, oppression and bigotry”.
“Mahant Yogi Adityanath, his party and his followers should have no doubt about the fact that we are not going to bow down in front of their tyranny,” he added.
Regarding the demand that sedition charges be slapped on him, Mattu said speaking the truth and opposing communalism could not amount to sedition.
“If standing up to bullies and hate-mongering is seditious, one should be proud of it. I am not scared of these legal threats, sedition or no sedition. We will respond strongly, unapologetically and legally,” he said.