INTERVIEW | DR SANJEEV BALYAN
BJP MP and Union minister of state for animal husbandry Dr Sanjeev Balyan now denies his men took part in violence
Mohammed Anas | Caravan Daily
Member of Parliament from Muzaffarnagar, Dr Sanjeev Balyan, is also Union minister of state for animal husbandry. The Jat leader has a track-record of spreading hatred. He was booked and jailed for the 2013 communal riots in rural areas of Muzaffarnagar.
Last week, he was again in a similar situation, as he asked for a probe into the Deoband-linked madrassas in the anti-CAA protests in West UP, particularly Muzaffarnagar. His own henchmen are said to have participated in rioting and arson in the course of the December 20 unrest in the city. However, he remains popular and could be seen roaming around his constituency, re-assuring people about their life and property. On such a tour to the Shiv Chowk area, he picked up a call from Caravan Daily and answered several questions.
Question: Many of ‘your men’ are said to have participated in the December 20 incidents. Video and pictorial evidence showed their presence. One of them, Aakas Sharma alias Bobby, has been arrested. Why do you say about this?
Answer: (Laughs) How do you know they were my men? Those who participated in the December 20 riots were vandals and they have been arrested. Police has video evidence to prove their presence in the violent protests.
Do you approve of the violent police action?
The security forces resort to using force to apprehend culprits who go haywire. However, innocents should be spared. In Muzaffarnagar, many innocents, who were arrested, were set free later. I am myself working to ensure that no harm is done to any innocent in my constituency.
There is a plethora of evidence to show police brutality against innocents. Some houses have been ransacked. Women of the households have been mistreated. Even children have been subjected to police torture. This happened in your constituency. All these victims were your constituents. Will you take their case forward for justice?
I repeat that innocents should be spared of any trouble of any nature. I will try and do whatever I can to help innocents.
You said that madrassa students took part in the anti-CAA protests in the city. You also said that the Deoband seminary is in the vicinity and thus it could be possible more madrassa students may take part in such protests. You demanded a probe into this. Is this right?
Yes. You can see pictures and some videos. Many of them, including minors, could be seen agitating. They even fought with police and they entered their seminary (Sadat madrassa). The police chased them and nabbed around 40 of them. Some of them are still in jail.
But Sadat madrassa is a Shia institution, which has nothing to do with Deoband except for its ideological rivalry. It is out of question that Deoband will guide students of a madrassa like Sadat. Do you have evidence about students of any other seminary getting involved in protests?
(Baffled) I was not aware of the ideological allegiance of Sadat madrassa. But it is true that they took part in the December 20 protests. I don’t know about other madrassas for sure; it is very much possible that they must have taken part in anti-CAA protests. And before it becomes a trend, it should be stopped and a probe done into the role of their teachers in their brainwashing.
Minister Saheb, have you seen any protest after December 20 in entire West UP, let alone madarsa students taking part in it?
I am not aware of it. But I can also add here that there has not been any arrest after December 20 either. (The arrest claim of the minister could be contested as the police picked up several men after December 20 in many West UP districts).