New Delhi: Jammu and Kashmir legislator Engineer Rahid blames the growing intolerance in the country on Prime Minister Narendra “Modi’s Hindustan”, not Mahatma Gandhi’s India.
Sheikh Abdul Rashid, better known as Engineer Rashid, has been attacked twice this month after he hosted a beef party in Srinagar — first by BJP legislators in the Jammu and Kashmir assembly who beat him up and then by Hindu activists in Delhi who smeared ink on his face.
Rashid, an independent legislator, told IANS that “everything is possible in this country as this is now Modi’s Hindustan, not a tolerant (Mahatma) Gandhi’s India”.
The attack in New Delhi took place outside the Press Club shortly after he had addressed the media on the October 9 attack on a truck in Udhampur in Jammu and Kashmir that eventually killed its cleaner.
The Hindu Sena activists not only blackened Rashid’s face with ink and Mobil oil, but shockingly also threw ink on the families of the victims of the Udhampur attack.
Asked why he violated religious sentiments by hosting a beef party, Rashid explained: “I never eat non-vegetarian food in my constituency. But it hurts me when people like Sakshi Maharaj or Haryana Chief Minister (M.L.) Khattar dictate me what to eat and what not to eat.”
Speaking at the Jammu and Kashmir House here, Rashid hit out at Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders for making controversial comments on Muslims as well as issues related to beef consumption.
On Sunday, BJP president Amit Shah told four party leaders, including Sakshi Maharaj and Khattar, that Prime Minister Modi was very upset with the kind of hate comments made by them.
While Rashid is ready to respect others’ religious sentiments, he has his own questions.
“Cow can be their mother, but what relation do they have with buffalo?” he asked. Buffalo meat is also widely known as beef.
“Let me accept that Sakshi Maharaj’s cow can be his mother. What relation he has with my cow that I raised at my home?
“My cow is my cow, and I decide what I do with it.”
Rashid also urged India and Pakistan to shun the politics of hatred and resolve the dispute over Jammu and Kashmir according to the aspirations of the people of the state.
“I always believe India and Pakistan should have been one country. But the recent attacks by right-wing activists are proving Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s two-nation theory correct,” Rashid said.
Asking Modi to apologize over rising intolerance in the country, the legislator from Langate said: “The BJP has already divided the entire country. Please don’t divide Jammu and Kashmir.
“By doing this, you are proving Jinnah’s two-nation theory absolutely right. Modi should apologize for Godhra, Akhlaq and every other such incident,” he said, referring to the 2002 Gujarat riots that began with a train burning at Godhra.
Rashid branded Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed a “puppet CM” and blamed him for the poor state of affairs in the country’s only Muslim-majority state.
“Kashmir has become a lawless island, and Mufti Sayeed is solely responsible for that.
“People voted for him so that he can put the BJP and RSS out of the state. But he created an unholy coalition with them, providing a platform to the RSS and other extremists to interfere in our state.”
(Aadil Mir can be contacted at [email protected] )