“You guys must keep one thing in mind. I am saying this openly. No one will buy vegetables from Muslims.” This was the statement made by BJP legislator Suresh Tiwari from Barhaj constituency in Deoria district of Uttar Pradesh on April 17.
After 10 days, a 14-second video clip showing Tiwari making the statement started doing the rounds on social media. This prompted Tiwari to brief the media about the incident on Tuesday (April 28). However, the saffron party MLA defended his statement alleging that he had heard from some people that Muslim vendors had been spitting on vegetables.
Suresh Tiwari BJP MLA from Uttar Pradesh asked people in Deoria district not to purchase vegetables from Muslim vendors.
No one will Demand For his Arrest And No outrage will be seen in Dalal Media#Islamophobia_In_India #StopCOVIDIslamophobia @IndiasMuslims pic.twitter.com/HyCnYpc1Xl
— faizan (@faizan0008) April 28, 2020
“I went to my constituency on April 17 and interacted with around 10-12 people about the lockdown situation. The people said they had been hearing that Muslim vendors had been spitting on vegetables, before selling them,” Tiwari told reporters. “So, I said if there is no faith [in the vendors], then do not buy vegetables from them.”
Stating that he had given this advice to prevent the spread of coronavirus, Tiwari asked what was wrong in it and why were people making this a big issue. “If Owaisi openly abuses Hindus, no one opposes that. But if an MLA makes a suggestion to his people, people are making a big issue,” he told the reporters.
Earlier, Tiwari’s statement drew criticism from many people on social media. Some demanded that Tiwari be expelled from the BJP. The saffron party has issued a show-cause notice to Tiwari, NDTV reported. BJP president JP Nadda was upset over the remark made by Tiwari, sources said.
However, this is not the first time BJP leaders have come under fire for making statements against the Muslim community.
Recently, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan slammed the saffron party after its leader Subramanian Swamy, in an interview, said, “We know where the Muslim population is large, there is always trouble.” Swamy added that the Islamic ideology had said so. “If Muslims become more than 30 per cent, that country is in danger,” he said.
A few weeks ago, BJP MP Tejasvi Surya, representing the Bangalore South constituency, made a derogatory remark on Twitter against women living in Arab counties. Though he deleted the tweet, it sparked widespread criticism on social media.
Early in April, BJP MLA MP Renukacharya, who is also the political secretary to Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, made a scathing remark against those who had returned from a religious congregation in New Delhi. He said that it wouldn’t be unfair to shoot to death the attendees of the gathering who did not undergo treatment for COVID-19.