State must protect citizens, says Hamid Ansari after UP lynching
Vice-president Hamid Ansari said on Thursday that the state has to ensure the right to life of every citizen irrespective of his religion, in remarks that came against the backdrop of the lynching of a 50-year-old man in an Uttar Pradesh village over rumours that he stored and consumed beef.
“The state has to ensure the right to life, enshrined in Article 21 of Indian Constitution, to every citizen of India, irrespective of the citizen’s faith or creed,” Ansari said at an event in Hardoi, 112km northwest of state capital Lucknow.
“Any harm to a citizen’s life is not only a failure of the government but also a failure on the part of fellow citizens, neighbours,” Ansari said at the programme organised by Naresh Agarwal, a Rajya Sabha member of the ruling Samajwadi Party.
UP governor Ram Naik too attended the event -- christened Quami Ekta Sammelan (religious unity gathering) -- held on the occasion of Agarwal’s birthday.
Mohammad Ikhlaq, a resident of Bisada village in Greater Noida, was beaten to death and his 22-year-old son Danish was critically injured by a 200-strong mob which barged into their house on Monday night following an announcement from loudspeakers installed in the local temple that the family ate beef. The family alleged their neighbours did not help them.
Soon, a political slugfest erupted over the incident and some alleged there was an attempt to polarise voters in Uttar Pradesh ahead of the upcoming panchayat elections in the state.
“If India has to attain the top place in the world, which it has to, then citizens should consider citizenship supreme and the Constitution the holy book,” Ansari said, stressing that unity among the people of the country was essential for India’s progress and development.
“Citizens have a right to demand security and there could be no development till the security of citizens is assured,” the septuagenarian Ansari said.
About a month ago, Ansari had triggered a debate after saying that the problems of exclusion and discrimination Muslims are confronted with have to be corrected by the state.
Identity, security, education, empowerment and a fair share in decision-making are the key issues India’s Muslims are facing, he had said.
(With agency inputs)