LUCKNOW — A BJP MLA from eastern Uttar Pradesh’s Deoria district has created a controversy again by warning the people of his constituency about buying vegetables from Muslim vendors amid a nationwide lockdown over coronavirus.
The incident comes days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke against communalising the pandemic.
BJP MLA Suresh Tiwari asked residents of Deoria district not to purchase vegetables from Muslim vendors in a 14-second clip, which is being widely shared on social media.
Suresh Tiwari is heard in the video saying in Hindi, “Keep one thing in mind. I am telling everyone openly. There is no need to buy vegetables from ‘Miyas‘ (Muslims).”
Accoding to NDTV, when asked about his comments, Suresh Tiwari admitted making the remarks last week. “I was in my constituency and I was interacting with a group of 10-12 people. We started having a conversation over the lockdown. I was told that Muslim vendors who are selling vegetables are spitting on them,” the UP MLA said.
“So I told them that I cannot do anything but they should avoid buying from these vendors to make sure that they don’t get coronavirus. When people are asking what to do…. what should a MLA say? Did I say anything wrong? Why make it a big issue?” he asked.
Muslims are being targetted by Hindutva goons and biased media for the spread of Coronavirus in the country after few people were found tested positive who attended the event of Tablighi Jamaat at its headquarters in Nizamuddin, New Delhi last month.
Post the event, false news targeting Muslims began to circulate, including video clips purportedly showing congregation members spitting on authorities. The clips were quickly proven to be fake, yet by April 1, the hashtag “CoronaJihad” was trending on Twitter in India.
Politicians in Bharatiya Janata Party were quoted on TV and in newspapers describing the Jamaat incident as “corona terrorism”.
In Uttar Pradesh, amid repeated appeals from the state government and police to not believe in rumours, several incidents have been reported where Muslim vendors have been targeted.
The clip that shows Mr Tiwari making the remarks has been criticised by many on social media. Among those who slammed the BJP leader for his comments was actor-turned politician and Congress leader Nagma, reports NDTV.
#BJPStopHatredFightCorona #BJP #Mla Suresh Tiwari from #UP is seen instructing people not to buy vegetables from Muslim People #communalhatred #pandemicdesign #Islamophobic during #StopCOVIDIslamophobia @narendramodi teach ur men to stop doing this 1st they don’t seem 2understand https://t.co/tCnH6dlIaO
— Nagma (@nagma_morarji) April 27, 2020
However, reacting to Tiwari’s statement, UP BJP spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi was quoted as saying that the party does not endorse such statements. The party would take cognisance of the matter and question Tiwari about the circumstances in which he made the remarks, he added.