All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen president Asaduddin Owaisi on Monday said the Bharatiya Janata Party should answer why its ministers in the previous Jammu and Kashmir government attended a rally in support of the accused in the Kathua case.
"BJP needs to answer as to why their ministers came out in support of those accused," he told reporters in Hyderabad. He claimed ministers belonging to the BJP (in the erstwhile BJP-Peoples Democratic Party coalition) attended a rally in support of the accused.
Replying to queries on the verdict in the case, he said "justice should be done whichever religion the accused belongs to".
He cited incidents of offences against girls and women at Madhya Pradesh's Indore, Bihar's Gaya and Uttar Pradesh's Gorakhpur and said justice should be done.
According to him, his party had condemned such incidents whichever religion the accused belonged to.
Six of the seven accused in the rape and murder of an eight-year-old nomadic girl in Kathua were convicted by a court at Pathankot on Monday.
Talking about arrest of journalists in Uttar Pradesh, he said it was misuse of power.
"Why do you arrest a journalist? What for? He is doing his job. Just because, Yogi Adityanath (Chief Minister) does not like it, then he uses his police force. He is facing a hate case against him. This clearly shows that the UP government, BJP does not believe in independent journalism. It is attack on journalism," he said.
Asked if Muslims "saved" Rahul Gandhi in Wayanad, he said the fact is that Mr Gandhi lost in Amethi and won in the Kerala constituency.
It is also true that nearly 45 per cent of the electorate in Wayanad are Muslims, he said.
Asked what he meant by the comments, Mr Owaisi said data of a survey on Lok Sabha elections show that Congress and secular parties got the highest votes from Muslim minorities in the name of secularism.
According to the data, the alliance in Uttar Pradesh secured 73 per cent of Muslim vote, he said, apparently referring to the Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party tie-up.
"I am not getting Muslim vote. You are getting Muslim vote. I am only being seen for namesake.... We are saying that it is high time for Muslim community to think where their vote is going. Had regional parties not been there in India, especially in the south, BJP would have swept entire India," he said.
According to him, the data shows that Hindu vote to BJP grew from 37 per cent in 2014 to 44 per cent this time, while Muslim vote is the same.
Mr Owaisi wished that violence ends in West Bengal and peace prevails in the state and elsewhere.
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