New Delhi: Three activists of a Hindu organisation, Hindu Sena, blackened the face of MLA Engineer Rashid using ink, paint and mobil oil at the Press Club of India in New Delhi on Monday.
Rashid was holding a press conference at Press Club here along with relatives of the two truck drivers who were burnt by a Hindu mob at Udhampur on October 9. One of the victims, 19-year-old Zahid, died at Safdurjung hospital on Sunday morning.
As he finished his press conference, he was held at the gate of the Press Club by some TV journalists for a one-to-one interview when some activists shouting slogans “gow mata ka apman, nahi sahega Hindustan (India will not tolerate any disrespect to cow)” pounced on him and threw black paint, mobil oil and blue ink at him.
Rashid had hosted a beef party at his official residence on October 7, a day before a controversial law on beef was scheduled to be discussed in the assembly. Several BJP legislators had beaten him up in the House next day.
Two people were detained by the police and whisked away to Parliament Street Police station while Rashid had to take refuge inside the Press Club till additional force came in.
“They are mentally sick. I want the whole world to see this how these people are trying to muzzle the voice of Kashmiris,” Rashid said.
“I do not eat beef, mutton, or chicken but that was a form of protest to tell the authorities that do not interfere in anyone’s religion,” Rashid had explained to reporters during the press conference when he was asked about him violating the sentiments of the people.
The conference was called by him after the death of Zahid along with the relatives of the two truck drivers to demand that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should apologise for the Udhampur incident.
“If the UP government can be held responsible for Dadri incident, then BJP is equally responsible for the Udhampur incident along with its ally PDP,” he said.
The relatives of the two — Zahid and Showkat — who were sleeping in the truck when it was attacked by a mob with petrol bombs said that Mufti Sayeed-led coalition government was “threatening, abusing and warning” their family members against speaking to the media.
“Mufti Sayeed will have to pay for this. Is this democracy that India boasts about? It is worst,” Mohammed Ashraf, kin of Zahid, said after his face was also blackened. .
Reacting on the beef party controversy, Rashid said people have “right to eat”. “We also consider cow as mother cow. Each and every person has right to eat what he wants,” he said.
Rashid said 72 per cent population of Jammu and Kashmir is Muslim and that their sentiments should also be taken care in a national discourse.
“Are we living in Hindustan of Mohan Bhagwat or Sakshi Maharaj? The Prime Minister talks of talibanisation and radicalisation. What is this happening in Jammu and Kashmir? Nobody is speaking. I request you with folded hands to highlight the plight of Kashmiris,” the MLA told reporters.
Rashid also sought higher compensation for the victims.
“There should be higher compensation for them. We have returned the compensation given to us by the state administration,” the state legislator said.
He demanded stricter punishment to those behind the gruesome attack. “The (alleged) kingpin, Pralahad Singh, of the attack is still at large. Why is he not being arrested? The irony is that he is holding demonstrations in Udhampur for release of other five who have been booked by police.
“We want that the attackers behind this incident should be hanged like Afzal Guru (2001 Parliament Attack convict),” Rashid said.
He said that youngsters in Jammu and Kashmir are being forced into stone pelting. “They do not throw stones on their own. They are being forced to do it,” Rashid said explaining the stone pelting by the youths there protesting the incident.
Asked about the functioning of the state government of PDP-BJP, he said, “What can I say. Mufti Saheb himself said that the alliance was meeting of North Pole and South Pole. So when these two poles meet, it is only a disaster.”
He recited an urdu couplet of famous Urdu poet Ghalib– “Na Khuda hi mila, na visaal-e-sanam; Na udhar kay rahay, na idhar kay rahe hum (I found neither faith, nor union with my lover; And now I belong neither there nor here)”– to explain the position of Sayeed afer his alliance with the BJP.
Zahid’s brother Mohammad Younus, who was also present in the presser, said his family was being threatened by the police and administration there.
“Mufti Sayeed did not speak to me or my family member. We were asked to contact his ‘PRO Altaf Sahab’. Is this how they care for Kashmiri fellowmen?” he asked.
“Mufti Saheb should remember that we have voted him to power and not Ram Madhavs of BJP,” he said.
Twenty-eight-year-old Younus said his brother is still in the hospital. “There is no word from the doctor. They send family members out of the ward when they take my brother for the dressing daily,” he said.