A BJP MLA from Uttar Pradesh, who got caught in a controversy for advising people to refrain from buying vegetables from Muslim vendors during the nationwide lockdown, does not find anything amiss with his statement.
In the short video clip that went viral on social media, the 74-year-old politician could be heard saying, “I am saying something very openly – do not buy vegetables from the miyas (Muslims).”
As per a report by NDTV, Deoria MLA Suresh Tiwari, defending his statement, said, “Did I say anything wrong?”
When questioned about the controversial statement, Tiwari said he made the comment while interacting with a small group of people from his constituency last week. They were reportedly discussing the coronavirus-induced lockdown, when one person in the audience claimed that Muslim vendors are spitting on vegetables before selling them.
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Responding to this, he advised them against purchasing vegetables and fruits from Muslim vendors to avoid contracting COVID-19. Later, while addressing the media, he asked what else could he have said as an MLA. “Why make a big issue out of it?”
He then went on to compare his statement to those of AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi, who, he claimed, makes objectionable statements about Hindus.
Several instances of Muslim vendors being targeted on the basis of rumours have emerged from Uttar Pradesh, the most recent one happening on April 27, when a watermelon seller was accused of spitting on the fruit.
The incident came days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s appeal against communalising the pandemic.To follow our full coverage on the coronavirus pandemic, click here