- An MLA from UP's Mahoba district has owned the video and his comments
- Brijbhushan Rajput threatened, abused a vegetable seller outside his home
- This is the second such incident involving BJP MLAs from Uttar Pradesh
In an appalling show of arrogance, a BJP MLA in Uttar Pradesh threatens a Muslim vegetable seller outside his home and warns him against "being seen anywhere in the area". The vendor, repeatedly asked to state his name, had given a Hindu name, and brought upon himself a torrent of abuses from Brijbhushan Rajput.
The ruling BJP's notice to another party MLA for urging people to boycott Muslim vegetable vendors amid the nationwide coronavirus lockdown apparently had no effect on Mr Rajput, who is on camera intimidating the vegetable seller and his young son outside his home in Lucknow.
The MLA from Charkhari in the state's Mahoba district has unabashedly owned the video and his comments.
"Yes, it was my video. I reprimanded him because he was lying. He said his name was Rajkumar while his name is Rehmuddin. He wasn't wearing masks and gloves. We know 16 vegetable sellers in Kanpur and one in Lucknow tested COVID-19 positive," Mr Rajput told news agency ANI.
The vendor is, in fact, wearing a mask in the video.
"Tell me the truth. What is your name," the MLA demands.
The vendor replies: "Rajkumar".
"No, it is not your name. Tell us the truth," Mr Rajput is heard insisting.
The vegetable seller keeps repeating "Rajkumar".
The MLA then tells him: "If you don't tell us your real name then I will beat you to pulp."
When the vendor turns to go, the politician shouts: "Why are you running away?"
The MLA finally addresses the man's son, who was driving the vegetable cart, and says: "Son, you tell the truth? What is your father's name? Then we will spare your father. Or else…"
The boy says: "Azeez ur Rahmaan"
Mr Rajput then launches into a hate-filled rant peppered with curses.
"S**la jhooth bol raha tha Musalman hoke? (Lying about being a Muslim?)," he shouts at the vendor, who mumbles apologetically.
The vendor's son then pleads with the politician to let them go, promising, "We won't do it again."
The BJP MLA keeps shouting even as the pair hurries away into the distance.
"You should not be seen in this area again. If we see you, we will beat you and teach you a lesson," Mr Rajput yells after them.
This is the second such incident involving BJP MLAs from UP just days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned against divisive behavior, saying the coronavirus pandemic affected everyone equally, regardless of religion and caste.
On Tuesday, the BJP asked another MLA, Suresh Tiwari, to explain his comment warning people against buying vegetables from Muslims.
In a cellphone clip that has been doing the rounds on social media, Mr Tiwari is heard saying in Hindi: "Keep one thing in mind. I am telling everyone openly. There is no need to buy vegetables from 'Miyas' (Muslims)."
BJP chief JP Nadda said such comments "will not be tolerated".
Several incidents of Muslim vendors being targeted have been reported in the state over the last weeks despite repeated appeals by the government and the police to dismiss rumours about coronavirus.
In this case, Suresh Tiwari said he made the comments after reports that "Muslim vendors who are selling vegetables are spitting on them". The rumours were emphatically denied by the police.