Srinagar: Independent MLA Engineer Rashid after being thrashed by the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) MLAs in the Jammu & Kashmir assembly Thursday defended hosting the beef party and sarcasticllay asked why he can't eat beef when others consume alcohol.
"You will find many bottles of liquor at the MLA hostel", he told the reporters, adding that "if legislators can have alcohol, why can't I have beef".
"I didn't use the hostel's facility and food was brought from outside. I had no intention of hurting anyone's sentiments," he added.
He also said two officials of the legislators hostel were suspended and called it "unjust".
Engineer Rashid told reporters outside the assembly that beef was banned under the state's Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) and the high court had ordered its implementation, but a Supreme Court order suspended its enforcement for two months in the state.
The lawmaker termed the assault on him by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLAs in the legislative assembly as "terrorism and hooliganism".
"Nearly six to eight BJP members grabbed me and kicked and punched me. Is this democratic behaviour. And you expect separatists to join this assembly," he asked.
He said officials at the MLA hostel were reluctant to allow his beef party and allowed it only after he explained the apex court's verdict.
Asked if he expects the assembly speaker to take action against BJP lawmakers for attacking him, he said: "I don't have any expectations from anyone there (assembly)."
Even before the speaker, Kavinder Gupta, could take his seat, BJP MLAs Gagan Bhagat and Rajeev Sharma pounced on Engineer Rashid and started thrashing him.
Opposition MLAs from the National Conference (NC) had to intervene to save Engineer Rashid.
Opposition leader and former chief minister Omar Abdullah said what was witnessed in the house today was unprecedented.
"I am still unable to fully understand what happened in the assembly today (Thursday)."
"The speaker is the custodian of the house, but we want to know what the chief minister has to say on this most unfortunate incident," Omar Abdullah said.
Omar said whatever Engineer Rashid had done did not provide BJP the right to carry out a murderous attack on him.
"We respect and understand the sentiments of other communities, but that does not mean we can resort to violence to settle scores."
"Alcohol is prohibited in my religion. Consumption of pork is prohibited in my religion, but that does not mean I should attack everyone who consumes alcohol or pork," he said.
Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed said the incident to attack the MLA was condemnable.
"This house has high values of parliamentary conduct. Whatever has happened here is condemnable and I condemn it."
"I request deputy chief minister Nirmal Singh (BJP) to stand up and apologise for the misconduct of the BJP MLAs," Sayeed said.
Nirmal Singh said that whatever happened in the house was unfortunate and he disapproved of it, but added that what Engineer Rashid had done the previous day was "both condemnable and unfortunate".
Since the deputy chief minister stopped short of issuing a clear apology in his statement, opposition NC, Congress, CPI M, member Yusuf Tarigami and other independents including Engineer Rashid and Hakeem Yaseen walked out of the house after which question hour started in the assembly.