Assailants say they will thrash him a 1,000 times if he hosts such parties again
SRINAGAR: Independent MLA Abdul Rashid on Thursday was pushed, punched and kicked by BJP legislators on the floor of the Assembly, in ‘reaction’ to his hosting a ‘beef party’ at the MLA hostel last evening.
Minutes before the start the fifth day of the session Rashid, while entering the House, was pushed from behind by BJP legislator Gagan Baghat, Ravinder Raina and other BJP members. Then several BJP legislators started raining blows on him.
In the melee, members of Opposition parties National Conference, Congress, MLA Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami and Hakeem Mohammad Yaseen stepped in and tried to shield Rashid. They created an uproar and raised slogans like “Murderers of Kashmiri people, shame on you!” They called this attack by BJP members as the worst event in the history of the legislative assembly.
PDP ministers Abdul Rahman Veeri, Basharat Bukhari and Naeem Akhtar apparently panicked and left the House. When the Speaker, Kavinder Gupta, started the proceedings former CM Omar Abdullah said that it seemed the BJP legislators who beat Rashid intended to kill him the “Dadri way”.
After Omar, Hakeem Yaseen said the act of the BJP legislators was condemnable and they should learn a lesson from how Kashmiris responded on Eid-ul-Adha by not hurting the sentiments of other communities.
On his part, Chief Minister Mufti Sayeed condemned the act and asked the Deputy CM to apologise on behalf of the BJP. Following this, Nirmal Singh twice stood up from his seat, did not apologise, but asked party legislators “to keep sentiments in control because the BJP does not approve of it (sic).”
NC, Congress and independent MLAs, including Abdul Rashid, then walked out from the House.
The Speaker then started the question hour session.
At 11am, the NC returned and former speaker Muhammad Akbar Lone told the House, “As we walked out, the Law Minister informed us that CM Mufti Sayeed will apologise about the incident; that is why we are back.”
“I won’t apologise but my deputy will, as the men involved in the act are from his party,” Mohammad Sayeed replied. After these words, Nirmal Singh stood up from his seat for the third time and said, “The incident is unfortunate; I feel sorry for the incident.”
After this, the Opposition waited for the Speaker to announce a discussion on beef ban bills which were listed today. At 11.45 pm, Rashid made a surprise return, this time with a poster demanding that his bill on the ‘beef ban’ be discussed. Rashid went around the House, shouting. Hakeem Yaseen asked him to stay calm, but Rashid later walked into the well of the House, kept the banner before him, and sat scribbling something till the House called it a day at 1:30 pm.
The House did not discuss any beef ban bill.
In the upper house, NC and Congress members brought an adjournment motion to discuss the thrashing of the independent legislator. BJP MLCs demanded an FIR should be lodged against Rashid for the ‘beef party’. However the Chairman Anayat Ali did not take cognisance and began Question hour.
Meanwhile, the law minister intervened and said, “Rashid is not a member of this House. So it is inappropriate to discuss him here. Under the Constitution, everybody has a right to live his life according to his/her own belief. Nobody can stop us from consuming beef.”
BJP legislators protested Bukhari’s remarks to which he responded: “You are in the government and don’t know what you are doing. I am ashamed of what happened in the lower house. Nobody can take us for a ride.” After this, the Chairman disallowed a motion to discuss the attack on Rashid in the lower house, and NC members walked out in response, accusing the chairperson of being biased.
Amid the din, PDP minister Abdul Haq Khan claimed that the kebabs Rashid had served in the ‘beef party’ were not actually beef, and that he had “got them from a local shop”.
“Er Rashid always does something to be in the news, the beef party was one such attempt,” Khan said.
Ravinder Raina, one of the BJP MLAs who attacked Rashid, said, “As we were entering the house, we asked Rashid about the yesterday’s beef part, he said that he will do it a 1,000 times.”
“If he does it a 1000 times we will thrash him a 1000 times. It was after these arguments we lost our temper. We were also manhandled by Congress and National Conference workers,” Raina told reporters.