Madhya Pradesh government’s decision to impose draconian National Security Act (NSA) against three persons accused of cow slaughter has shocked many. Many Muslim intellectuals have publicly expressed outrage over the fact that this has been done by a government that came to power with the overwhelming support of the Muslim community.
Many people have said that the imposition of NSA is an extreme step, not just because of the fact that it came during the Congress regime, but also because of the fact that the cow slaughter is yet to be proved. The family members of the three accused have said that they were merely cattle traders and had nothing to do with slaughter of cow or buffalo.
Imposition of NSA
Three people had been arrested and slapped with National Security Act (NSA) in Madhya Pradesh’s Khandwa district. The family members of the trio have denied that they were involved in the cow slaughter. If that was not enough, another two people have been detained and booked under NSA in Agar Malwa district of the state. The duo has been detained for allegedly illegal transportation of cattle and disruption of public peace.
Confused Congress leadership
Not just the Congress supporters, the Congress leadership has also come out as a rather very confused on the issue. Rajasthan deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot, while speaking at the The Hindu Huddle Conclave said that the Rajasthan government could have handled the cow issue differently. While speaking on the occasion, the Congress leader said, “It is fine to protect animals that are sacred and I believe in that too, but I think we could have done a better job by prioritising those issues first and then taken on the cow issue. I think that for Madhya Pradesh, Mr. Kamal Nath is the best person to decide on the issue, but for Rajasthan, this is what I feel”.
This is the toughest criticism that has come from within the party against the move. Nonetheless, Sachin Pilot was not the only Congress leader who criticised the move. Several other Congress leaders including P Chidambaram, Digvijaya Singh and Salman Khurshid also criticized the move, though in mellowed down tone.
The central leadership of the Congress party has said that it will not “unwarrantedly interfere” in the functioning of the Madhya Pradesh government. Congress spokesperson, Randeep Surjewala, while echoing the opinion of the top party brass said, “Kamal Nathji has categorically said the law will take its own course. Nobody who is innocent will be persecuted or punished in any manner and nobody who is guilty will be spared…He is experienced and seasoned enough to see if any officer of the police has made any overreach at the instance of somebody who is previously embedded on behalf of the BJP regime…Kamal Nathji is also competent enough to see whether the particular offence provides what kind of punishment under the law and I think we should leave it to his seasoned wisdom”.
Congress being condemned
The imposition of the NSA against five Muslims in a state ruled by the Congress party seems to have apparently shocked the Muslim community. Urdu media has come out strongly against the Congress’ Madhya Pradesh government as well as against the Congress top leadership that they believe came to power riding on the support of the Muslim votes. While this may not be true, as the Muslims make miniscule minority comprising less than seven percent of the population, it is also true that the community overwhelmingly voted for the Congress party.
An edit page article in Urdu daily Inquilab says, “the Congress triumph in three states out of the five states where polls were held a few weeks ago, was helped by the wholesome Muslim support. Congress is free to accept or reject this fact. This is an altogether different matter. Nonetheless, the community shouldn’t feel insecure in the Congress ruled states and there should be a concerted effort to bring them out of the fear psychosis that seems to have gripped the community in a large part of the country. This is not just the need of the Muslims, but also of the Congress party. It is true that the Congress party cannot win elections on the support of the Muslim community alone. This is also true of other secular organizations. We don’t have any disagreement and want the Congress president, Rahul Gandhi, to try to bring the majority community solidly under its influence. We don’t really have any objection over Mr Gandhi donning a Hindu image by visiting temples. If he wants to express his association with Sanatan Dharma, it is his pejorative and no Muslim has any objection.”
“But the Muslim community should be made to realise the fact that there is some real change on the ground following the change of the governance in the state. They should have the sense of security, to travel securely across the country and have faith that they will not be discriminated against and should have assurance that their lives will not be turned miserable in the name of cow protection. Whatever has happened in Khandwah district doesn’t give any insight about any positive change taking place on the ground. The Congress shouldn’t use the BJP and RSS tactics to win elections. If the Congress makes such mistake, it will have serious repercussions for the grand old party”.
While there are people who are criticising the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh, there are many others who believe that it is the handiwork of the RSS infested bureaucracy that is still influenced by the 15-year long BJP. They claim that it is going to take some time before the Congress party is able to cleanse the bureaucracy of the RSS elements and according to them it is going to take years.
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