SRINAGAR — Independent MLA Sheikh Abdul Rashid was Thursday thrashed by some BJP legislators in the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly for throwing a beef party here, triggering an uproar from the opposition which staged a walkout, reported Press Trust of India.
The manhandling of the MLA, who had thrown a beef party at the MLA hostel here yesterday, came on a day the Assembly is scheduled to take up a bill on the ban on the meat.
As BJP MLAs assaulted him, several NC and Congress MLAs rushed to save him.
The assault on the floor of the House triggered an angry reaction from the opposition with National Conference leader Omar Abdullah saying it was impossible to digest the incident.
“What happened today is impossible to digest. An honourable member being assaulted in the House. It seems that they wanted to murder him (Rashid). If he had done anything that was objectionable that should have been put on record,” the former Chief Minister said.
On the beef ban issue, Omar said, “Our sentiments are also attached to this issue… We don’t force our religion on you. My religion prohibits consumption of alcohol and pork… Do I assault everyone who eats pork or alcohol,” he said, demanding that the Chief Minister make a statement on the issue.
Condemning the assault, Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed said sentiments should be kept under check.
“I condemn this incident. The House has good tradition ….Sentiments should be kept under control. I ask Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh to apologise for the misconduct of his party MLAs,” he said.
Singh on his part said, “We do not approve of what happened in the Assembly today. But what happened in the MLAs hostel yesterday was also wrong,” he said, referring to yesterday’s beef party.
The Deputy Chief Minister stopped short of apologizing for the incident following which the entire opposition staged a walkout.
BJP MLA Ravinder Raina said Rashid had hurt the sentiments of Hindus.
“It was not a case of physical manhandling. He has hurt the sentiments of Hindus. I did not beat him,” he said.
“Engineer Rashid hosted a beef party last night, It hurt my sentiments. I conveyed the message to the Chief Minister and called SHO but no action was taken against him” he said.
Rashid, the legislator from Langate, had yesterday hosted the beef party in the lawns of MLA hostel here, with the guests being served beef kebabs, ‘ristas’ (meat balls) and beef patties.
Rashid had claimed that he did not want to offend anyone
but wanted to send a message that “no court or legislature can prevent the people from eating what they want”.
The step was “just to give them (legislators) a clear message that it hardly makes any difference whether you accept or reject the bill… Religious matters cannot be kept subservient to courts and assembly,” the MLA had said.
“Nobody on earth, no assembly, no court and no institution can stop us from having what we want to have,” he added.
The beef row erupted after a division bench of High Court in Jammu directed the state to strictly implement the ban in the state as per the law.
The order had evoked strong resentment from various quarters with many separatist and religious organisations terming it as “interference in religious affairs” and sought revocation of the law, besides pressing for implementation of ban on liquor in the state.
Opposition members later returned to the House after Law Minister Basharat Bukhari assured them that that the Deputy Chief Minister would tender an apology for the incident.
As soon as the NC members came to the House and before the start of the Zero Hour, Singh said, “I feel sorry for the incident, it was unfortunate …. I have condemned it earlier also.”