Lucknow: Alleging that Muslims are being targeted in India, senior Samajwadi Party (SP) leader and a minister in Uttar Pradesh Azam Khan claimed including eminent citizens like Markandey Katju and author Shobha De more than half the country's population eat beef.
"If eating beef is a sin then the punishment given to Engineer Rashid, should also be meted out to Justice (retd) Markandey Katju and author Shobha De", Azam Khan said in reply to a question by reporters about ink attack on Independent MLA from Jammu and Kashmir Engineer Rashid by a right wing outfit in Delhi yesterday.
Markandey Katju and Shobha De have publicly declared their eating habits and choice.
Rashid, who recently hosted a beef party on the lawns of the government circuit house in Srinagar and was thrashed by Bharatiya Janata Party members in the assembly, was faced an ink attack members of a little known Hindu outfit in New Delhi on Monday.
Earlier, Mohammad Akhlaque, a 50-year-old Muslim, was dragged out of his house and beaten to death on Sept 28 allegedly by Hindu extremists after rumours spread that he had consumed beef. Forensic reports later confirmed that the meat Akhlqaue had eaten was mutton, not beef.
Earlier this month, Zahid Bhat and Showkat Ahmad Dar from Jammu and Kashmir's Anantnag district sustained major injuries when a mob had hurled a fire bomb on their stationary truck at Udhampur on the Jammu-Srinagar highway.
Both were undergoing treatment in Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi where Bhat succumbed to his burn injuries.
On October 14, Noman Akhtar of Saharanpur district in Uttar Pradesh was beaten to death near Himachal Pradesh capital Shimla allegedly by Bajrang Dal activists who accused him of being part of a 'cow smuggling' gang.
Claiming that more than half of the Indian population eat beef, Azam Khan said, in that case half of the Indian population should be punished.
"Muslim community is a weak community which is being punished," he said.
Azam Khan's statement came two days after former union minister and president of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Maratha strongman Sharad Pawar said that the Hindutva ideologue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar didn't hold cow as a sacred animal.
"Savarkar's views about Hindutva were taken conveniently by a few people who have narrowed their thought process. Savarkar said that cow is a useful animal, however it can be slaughtered and eaten after it is no longer useful. This stand was not welcomed (by those who swear by him otherwise)," Pawar said on Sunday while speaking at a book release function in Mumbai.