SRINAGAR, Indian-controlled Kashmir, Oct. 8 (Xinhua) – – The legislators India’s ruling right-wing Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) Thursday manhandled an independent Muslim lawmaker in Indian-controlled Kashmir for serving beef at a private party, officials said.
The independent lawmaker Abdul Rashid Sheikh was beaten inside region’s lawmaking body immediately after the house met Thursday morning to discuss bills including beef ban.
“The independent lawmaker Abdul Rashid Sheikh was kicked and punched by several BJP lawmakers inside the house,” an official said. “He was rescued by opposition lawmakers and the incident disrupted the business in house.”
Sheikh had organised a beef party on Wednesday evening at hostel for region’s lawmakers in Sringar, the summer capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir. The party according to Sheikh was hosted to send message that no one has authority to force Muslims not to eat what was permitted for them.
Indian-controlled Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed strongly condemned the assault on Sheikh and urged members to maintain decorum of the lawmaking body.
“What happened today is highly unfortunate,” Sayeed said. Sayeed asked deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh to apologise for behaviour of BJP lawmakers.
Former chief minister and leader of Opposition Omar Abdullah said BJP legislators attacked Sheikh to kill.
“Whatever happened has weakened your (BJP) stand and proved Dardri incident is done by people like you. Had we not saved him ( Sheikh) you would have killed him,” Abdullah said.
Majority of Hindus consider cow to be sacred, and their slaughtering is banned in most Indian states.
In Indian-controlled Kashmir ban on cow slaughter and sale of beef is a law of 1930’s imposed by the then autocratic ruler of the region.
As per the law slaughter of cow is punishable with up to 10 years of imprisonment and fine.
The law however was never enforced strictly in the region.
Indian-controlled Kashmir is a Muslim majority region, where beef is being consumed by a vast population.
There has been an increase in violence against those accused of breaking the ban.India’s top court on Monday suspended the order of Indian-controlled Kashmir’s high court banning the sale of beef in the region for two months.
The top court’s order has come in wake of two different directions of the Indian-controlled Kashmir high court pertaining to slaughter of the bovines and enforcement of ban on sale of beef.
The Jammu bench of the court had last month directed police to enforce the sale of beef ban, while as a week later, the court’s Srinagar bench issued notice to the local government on a separate petition that asked for the ban to be cancelled.
The region’s lawmaking body Monday witnessed noisy protests over the beef ban, with opposition benches including pro-India National Conference members calling the ban an “interference in religion” and demanding an adjournment motion on the issue.
Last month Mohammad Akhlaq was beaten to death and his son injured by a Hindu mob at Dadri in Uttar Pardesh over rumours that the family was eating beef.
A coalition of pro-India Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and BJP runs local government in Indian-controlled Kashmir.