BJP Member of Parliament and former Mumbai police commissioner Satyapal Singh courted a major controversy on Tuesday by terming an incident of mob-lynching over the rumours of beef-eating as a “small” one. On September 28, a 50-year-old man was lynched by a violent mob in Dadri, a hamlet neighbouring national capital Delhi, over the rumours that he and his family ate and stored beef.
“As far as a small incident like Dadri is concerned, our country’s democratic atmosphere is fully competent to handle. Our country is full competent to handle such incidents,” Satyapal Singh told Delhi based TV news channel.
Incidentally, this reaction from a lawmaker of the ruling party has come just 24 hours after the incident was strongly denounced by the National Human Right Commission.
“Dadri incident is a very serious violation of human rights and some complaints have come to us,” NHRC chairperson Justice Cyriac Joseph said adding “We have a democracy here and all those who are involved in the democratic life of this country, be it the political parties, the law enforcement agencies or judiciary etc, everyone should be concerned.”
The constitutional body, however, stopped short of taking any further steps on the matter as it is already before the Minority Commission, another constitutional body.
Mr. Singh’s reaction has now evoked strong reactions from the wide array of opposition parties.
“I am absolutely dismayed at the remarks of the BJP MP, who was also a former Police Commissioner of Mumbai,” Congress party spokesperson Ajoy Kumar said alleging that such remarks reflect the “strategy” of BJP to “usurp” power by polarising communities.
While, Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Rajiv Rai demanded an apology from Satyapal Singh, an MP from Baghpat in Uttar Pradesh — the state ruled by the SP.
“They should apologise. I am disgusted that this statement comes from an MP, who was a former police commissioner,” said Rajiv Rai adding that if Dadri is a minor incident, what else is a big incident?
The incident, which is now two weeks old, has so far led to a widespread condemnation and protest demanding the government of the day to safeguard citizen’s right to free speech. President Pranab Mukherjee and Vice-President Hamid Ansari even made a speech opining the need to safeguard the rights of the citizens and the core values of our democracy.
PM Modi too had urged to maintain peace and unity, though, he was earlier criticised for his silence on the issue.
Denouncing further the rising incidents of intolerance and attacks on the rationalist thinkers, several prominent authors, writers, poets and other literati has given up their awards and honours. Latest on the list being Punjabi writer Dalip Kumar Tiwana who on Tuesday returned Padma Shri protesting against the rising instances of communal violence.
“It is a matter of sorrow that the Sahitya Akademi remains silent…. In memory of the Indians who have been murdered, in support of all Indians who uphold the right to dissent, and of all dissenters who now live in fear and uncertainty, I am returning my Sahitya Akademi Award,” said legendary author Nayantara Sahgal.
(With inputs from the PTI)