The Opposition on Friday mounted an assault on the Centre over its alleged failure to check violent incidents in Jharkhand following the hanging of two Muslim cattle traders in March, demanding a parliamentary panel be set up to probe the matter.
JD(U) member Gulam Rasool Balyavi raised the issue during Zero Hour in Rajya Sabha, alleging that the state government had failed to protect the minority community that was living in fear. He said, “They were part of an old trade of buying and selling cattle. They were brutally hanged. I think even the British did not do this to Indians.”
Mazlum Ansari (32), and Imteyaz Khan, the teenage son of another cattle trader, were found hanging from a tree in Jharkhand’s Latehar district, in what appeared to be killings linked to a suspected Hindu vigilante group opposed to cow slaughter.
Balyavi found strong support from the Opposition. The House witnessed angry protests from the Opposition after minister of state for parliamentary affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi questioned the credibility of Balyavi’s allegations.
“The member made an emotional speech, but what is the truth,” said Naqvi, drawing an angry response from the Opposition.
Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said the government had failed to take any action after to check violent incidents that took place after the hanging. He said he wrote a letter to the PM after the two traders were hanged but no action was taken. MPs from Congress, SP, CPI (M) and SP stormed the Well of the house, shouting slogans against the government.
Naqvi said the house could have a debate on communal atmosphere in the country, but the Opposition demanded that an all-party parliamentary committee be set up to get to the bottom of the matter.
In her intervention, minority affairs minister Najma Heptulla said she would write to the chief minister, get the facts and find out what happened. “If this happened, it is very bad. But I urge the member not to get emotional, though I know it is a very emotional issue,” she said.
Her comments further angered that Opposition that attacked the government over its “casual” approach to the two-month-old matter.
CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury accused the Centre of complicity in the matter. He said two months had passed and the minorities affairs minister would now write to the government to find out what happened. He said the house needed to look into the matter as it was a communal issue and not a state law and order matter.
Amid the din, the house was adjourned for five minutes before question hour.