BJP leader Keshav Prasad Maurya stops interview midway over questions on hate speeches at Dharma Sansad
Deputy CM of UP Keshav Prasad Maurya stopped an interview midway over questions on hate speeches at Dharma Sansad in Haridwar. He also snatched reporter's mask and forced the crew to delete footage
Deputy CM of Uttar Pradesh Keshav Prasad Maurya stopped an interview midway over questions on hate speeches at Dharma Sansad in Haridwar. He also reportedly snatched the reporter's mask and forced the crew to delete footage, BBC reported
However, he later called it an "unfortunate incident", according to the broadcaster.
In the BBC video, the interviewer asks Maurya about the religious conclave and the silence of top leaders of the party, including UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, on hate speeches.
On being asked, whether leaders should reassure people by speaking up against such pronouncements, Deputy CM said, "We don't need to prove ourselves. We believe in 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikaas (development and support of all). Religious leaders have the right to express themselves."
Maurya also raised the question as why only Hindu religious leaders were in the spotlight.
"Why are you only asking about Hindu leaders? What about comments made by other religious leaders? How many had to leave Jammu and Kashmir before Article 370 was scrapped, why don't you talk about that? When you raise questions, they should not be for only one group. Dharma Sansad is not a BJP event. It is of religious leaders," he said.
"Seers can say what they believe in. This is not related to politics. And there are Muslim and Christian leaders too. Talk about them too."
During the interview, interviewer pointed out that it was not unrelated to politics as such, but speeches vitiated the atmosphere ahead of polls. He also raised the issue of sedition charges over slogans raised at India-Pakistan match.
"Sedition is a different issue. But this is a Dharma Sansad. Then we can say the All India Muslim Personal Law Board has no right to protest against Surya Namaskar," Maurya said
When pressed about genocide calls, he said: "I don't know what video you are talking about. Are you asking about elections? You are not talking like a journalist. You are talking like the agent of a specific group. I won't talk to you. "
The Deputy Chief Minister then takes off his mic and the video abruptly ends.
While campaigning for elections in Uttar Pradesh and four more states, the BJP has been facing questions about the Dharma Sansad, in which calls for violence and genocide targeting Muslims were made by Hindu religious leaders, many of them flaunting their links to the ruling party.