Sangeet Som questions the Taj’s ‘history’: BJP leader no stranger to controversy
The BJP MLA, who retained his seat in this year’s UP election, was been implicated in the Muzaffanagar riots of 2013 that claimed at least 60 lives and displaced 50,000 people.india Updated: Oct 16, 2017 18:32 IST
Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Sangeet Som, who has questioned the Taj Mahal’s place in history, is no stranger to controversy and often makes headlines for his provocative statements.
The 39-year-old legislator, who retained his seat in this year’s UP election, was implicated in the Muzaffanagar riots of 2013 that claimed at least 60 lives and displaced 50,000 people.
The Justice Vishnu Sahai Commission indicted Som in 2015 for allegedly making provocative speeches that triggered the riots.
Earlier this year, a Special Investigation Team probing the riots cleared Som in connection with a fake video that was said to be one of the triggers of the riots. In its closure report, the SIT said Facebook headquarters failed to provide details about the people who had uploaded the video, saying they maintained a record of only one year.
The BJP leader has also been accused of stoking communal tensions in Dadri’s Bisada village after the killing of Mohammed Ikhlaq.
Som had warned the Samajwadi Party-led Uttar Pradesh government it would have to pay a price for favouring the Muslim community, as he met the families of the men accused of murdering Ikhlaq over rumours he slaughtered a cow.
During his visit to the village, Som said he would help arrange bail for those arrested over the mob killing of the 50-year-old victim, an incident that deepened sectarian concerns in the state. He accused the UP Police of taking one-sided action and “terrorising innocent youth in Bisada” village.
Political parties have traditionally sought to exploit religious and caste lines to win votes in the politically crucial state, which has a 403-member assembly.
Ahead of the assembly elections in the state, Som was hauled up for distributing campaign CDs with provocative statements.
When asked by HT in the run-up to the election why he frequently got associated with issues of communal polarisation, he responded: “If there is exploitation of a community, and I stand up with them, is it being communal?”
Som was also criticised for saying that the elections in UP were a “fight between Hindustan and Pakistan”. A video of Som making the remark at a meeting of BJP supporters in Meerut went viral on social media. He later said it was doctored.
Som had in 2015 claimed he received a death threat from the Islamic State. He said he received two internet calls from a person speaking broken Hindi and identified themselves to be a member of the terrorist outfit in Syria and Iraq in his complaint to the local police.
He had also triggered a controversy in June 2016 by organising a march to show solidarity with Hindu families that allegedly migrated from Kairana for the fear of criminals.
First Published: Oct 16, 2017 15:47 IST