GUWAHATI: A BJP MLA in Assam has courted a controversy by “equating” the Muslims with cows that do not give milk.
Dibrugarh MLA, Prasanta Phukan, suggested that the state government should not take care of the Muslims as they do not vote for BJP.
“Assam’s 90 per cent Muslims had not voted for us in Parliamentary elections. So, what is the point in giving fodder to cows which do not give milk?” Phukan had said on Tuesday.
The remark ruffled the feathers of a section of people, particularly lawyers, who demanded that a case be registered against him and action must be taken as per the law.
Senior advocate Hafiz Rashid Ahmed Choudhury of Gauhati High Court wondered as to why action against Phukan was not taken yet by the Assembly speaker or the governor. He insisted that the police register a case suo motu against the MLA.
“A case under non-bailable Sections of IPC should be registered against him as he committed a grave crime,” Choudhury said, adding, “If action against him is not taken then amity and brotherhood between Hindus and Muslims in Assam will cease to exist”.
Another Gauhati HC advocate, Nekubur Zaman, said BJP should suspend Phukan for the comment.
“It’s both shameful and condemnable that an elected representative has compared the Muslims with cows that do not give milk. The BJP should immediately take action against him or else the comment will not go down well,” Zaman said.
Anwar Hussain Laskar, who is an MLA of minority-based All India United Democratic Front, said only a mentally-deranged person could make such a statement.
Despite the criticism, Phukan has held his ground. “I didn’t tell a lie and I stand by it. It is an Assamese adage that a cow that doesn’t give milk shouldn’t be given fodder. So, what’s wrong in it?” argued the MLA.
He alleged that his statement was “misinterpreted”, but at the same time, he said the state’s BJP-led government had earmarked Rs.100 crore in the budget for minority development but it received no “output” from the community.
He also said that following the declaration of election results, the people would know if the Muslims in Assam had voted for BJP.
Last month, BJP leader Maneka Gandhi had drawn censure for her alleged attempt to coerce the Muslims to vote for her saying or else she would not work for them after coming to power.