Union minister Mahesh Sharma on Monday said that the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Centre do not support cow vigilantism and that incidents of violence in the name of cow protection have been condemned by all leaders of the party in no uncertain terms.
“We do not support violence in the name of cow protection. Law and Order is state subject but we always condemn these incidents. Either it is Prime Minister Narendra Modi or the chief ministers of BJP-ruled states, they have always spoken on these incidents and condemned them,” Sharma said at India TV conclave “Samvaad” here.
He was responding to a question from the audience on whether the government was concerned that the lynchings of Akhlaq and Pehlu Khan sent a wrong message that would harm tourism.
When asked why he went to the funeral of alleged killer of Akhlaq, whose body was draped in tricolour, Sharma said, “Dadri is my constituency. I have every right to visit my constituency. People like Asaduddin Owaisi, Rahul Gandhi, Brinda Karat and Arvind Kejriwal did not have any business to visit Dadri.”
Alleging that then Uttar Pradesh minister Azam Khan wanted to discharge Akhlaq’s son, who was undergoing treatment at Kailash Hospital that Sharma owns, the minister said: “Akhlaq’s son was treated in my hospital for 21 days. He did not leave the hospital even when Azam Khan wanted to take him away saying that this a RSS hospital.”
Sharma, who holds the portfolio of Tourism and Culture ministries, also responded to criticism over his statement in the Rajya Sabha that the birthplace of Sita was "a matter of faith" and there is “no historical evidence” to prove that she was born in Sitamarhi area of Bihar.
Responding to Digvijaya Singh’s statements in the House, Sharma said, “The birth of Sita ji is matter of faith. If we do not have historical proof that does not mean she was not born there (Sitamarhi). I don’t think Digvijay Singh has any proof belonging to his ancestors, that does not mean Singh did not have forefathers.”
"Sita ji is in the soul of India. The question was if any excavation had been done, I answered that there was no need. I said Digivijay ji that there had been grandfather of grandfather of grandfather of him but if he has any umbrella or spectacles belonging to them. I asked him if he had undertaken excavation to find those objects. He said "no" so does it mean that there was no grandfather of grandfather of grandfather of Digvijay Singh? The criticism was all political, Sharma said.