There was furore in the Jammu and Kashmir assembly on Saturday as the opposition legislators took on the government over the attack on Kashmiri truckers in Jammu region.
Two Kashmiri drivers and a policeman suffered serious burns when activists of the right-wing Hindu groups allegedly attacked a truck with petrol bombs in Udhampur district.
Police sources said three people were sleeping in the truck when it was set on fire on Friday, a day after reports of three cows having been killed in the area led to massive protests by members of the Hindu community.
The authorities have denied that the cows were slaughtered.
On Saturday, National Conference legislator Abdul Majid Larmi, who raised the issue in the House, blamed the attack on right-wing Hindu parties and demanded an explanation from the government.
The government confirmed the incident. Senior minister Abdul Rehamna Veeri said the police intervened almost immediately and rescued two people - Showkat Ahmad and Zahid Ahmad – both with burn injuries.
The third, Rameez Ahmad, who was driving the truck, however, had escaped unhurt.
Veeri said the two injured were rushed to hospital in Udhampur and later shifted to Jammu for specialised treatment.
‘Admit attackers from BJP’
The minister added that three people - Bala Bahadur Singh, Sunder Singh and Sunil Singh –were arrested and manhunt had been launched to arrest the other accused.
The entire opposition, however, expressed dissatisfaction with the government’s response and staged a walkout.
National Conference general secretary and MLA, Ali Mohammad Sagar, said the government “lacks courage” to admit that the accused belonged to the ruling BJP.
MLA Langate Engineer Abdul Rashid called the accused “terrorists” and demanded that the state government take strict action against them.
The Jammu and Kashmir police have registered a case of murder against the attackers.
Boiling over beef
The state has witnessed communal tension in recent weeks after the Jammu wing of the high court ordered implementation of a ban on sale and consumption of bovines.
The issue has divided the state’s two regions of Kashmir and Jammu, which have Muslims and Hindus in majority respectively.
The Supreme Court, however, has put aside the HC order for two months and asked the chief justice of Jammu and Kashmir high court to form a committee to review the beef slaughter law.