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New Delhi: Uttar Pradesh deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya’s controversial, anti-Muslim comments are making headlines once again. On Friday (December 3), Maurya said that before 2017 (when the Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in Uttar Pradesh), “lungi chhaap” goons used to roam freely in the state, and those wearing “jalidar topi (netted caps)” used to threaten traders and encroach upon their land.
‘BJP ने लुंगी और जालीदार टोपी वालों से निजात दिलाई है। अब किसी के जमीन पर कब्जा नहीं होता, अपहरण नहीं होता है’
— News24 (@news24tvchannel) December 3, 2021
“Before 2017 polls, how many lungi chhaap goons used to roam around.. those wearing jalidar topi with guns in their hands… Who used to threaten traders? Since the BJP government was formed, can you even see such goons?” Maurya said in Hindi.
Just two days before this comment, Maurya had already been accused of stirring the communal pot when he claimed that the state government is already making preparations for a Krishna temple in Mathura.
“The construction of grand temples is on in Ayodhya and Kashi, and preparations are on for one in Mathura (Ayodhya Kashi bhavya mandir nirmaan jaari hai Mathura kee tyaari hai),” Maurya said in a tweet he posted in Hindi. The supposed temple site, which is a subject of multiple lawsuits, is located inside an Aurangzeb-era mosque in Mathura and shares its premises with a prominent temple.
The Mathura district administration had on November 28 imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 following an announcement by the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha to install a Lord Krishna idol at what the group claims is the deity’s birthplace, inside the mosque. The Mahasabha called off the plan after the administration’s intervention.
Opposition leaders – including Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati – had said then that the BJP is trying to create communal divisions to garner votes in the run-up to the 2022 assembly elections. Criticism of Maurya also came from another quarter – the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha, which claimed that the BJP is only concerned about getting votes in the upcoming polls.