August 23, 2022
ISLAMABAD – A former member of India’s legislative assembly (MLA) belonging to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was booked by police for “allegedly promoting hatred and enmity”, Indian media outlet The Print reported on Sunday.
The report said that former BJP MLA Gyan Dev Ahuja was caught on tape saying that his supporters had “lynched five people” so far for cow smuggling after which he was booked by the Alwar police, a city in the northern Indian state of Rajasthan.
The report quoted Shiv Shankar, the station house officer of Govindgarh police station, as saying that the case was registered on a video that had cropped up after Ahuja visited the family of a man allegedly lynched by Muslims on Friday.
Shankar said that the first information report was registered under Section 153-A of the Indian Penal Code for promoting hatred and enmity on the grounds of religion.
The report added that in the video, the former BJP MLA could be heard referring to the 2017 Pehlu Khan lynching case and saying: “We have so far lynched five people, be it in Lawandi or Behror … I have given free hand to workers to kill. We will get them acquitted and secure bail.”
Khan died after he was attacked by hundreds of Hindu vigilantes while transporting cows in India in April 2017.
The report quoted BJP’s Alwar (South) chief Sanjay Singh Naruka as saying that the party “does not have this thinking” and Ahuja’s views were his alone.
It added that when approached for a comment, Ahuja maintained that “anyone involved in cow smuggling and slaughter won’t be spared”.
He added that his workers had beat up five Muslims from the Mev community who were allegedly smuggling cows.
Rajasthan Congress chief Govind Singh Dotasra shared the video in question and lashed out at Ahuja and the BJP.
“What more proof is needed of BJP’s religious terror and bigotry? The real face of BJP has come to the fore in the entire country,” he tweeted.
"अब तक 5 हमने मारे हैं…कार्यकर्ताओं को खुली छूट दे रखी है..मारो **** को..ज़मानत हम करवाएँगे” ये शब्द राजस्थान भाजपा कार्यकारिणी के सदस्य और पूर्व विधायक ज्ञानदेव आहूजा के हैं।
BJP के मजहबी आतंक व कट्टरता का और क्या सबूत चाहिए? पूरे देश में भाजपा का असली चेहरा सामने आ गया है। pic.twitter.com/v8XhxZEKcF
— Govind Singh Dotasra (@GovindDotasra) August 20, 2022
In April, a US State Department report on human rights highlighted major violations in India, including extrajudicial killings by government agents, violence against Muslims and killings by government and non-government forces in occupied Kashmir.
The US State Department had reported receiving credible information about Muslims being targeted in certain parts of India.
“Muslim communities in certain areas remained vulnerable to communal violence and discrimination […] violence against Muslim communities continued during the year with cases of physical abuse, discrimination, forcible displacement, and lynching for suspected cow smuggling,” the report added.