Samajwadi Party legislator from Kairana, Nahid Hasan, stoked a controversy when he was caught on camera asking people of his constituency to boycott traders supporting the Bharatiya Janata Party, drawing sharp reaction from ministers in the Yogi Adityanath government, who said that if a similar call was given by Hindus then traders of minority community would starve.
In the video, Hasan can be heard telling people that big BJP traders are trying to jeopardise their businesses by displacing them and hence they should boycott BJP-minded traders. It is not clear whether Hasan spoke to Muslims or the common people of Kairana.
Defending his statement in Lucknow on Monday, the MLA said that he had not said anything wrong.
“In Kairana, the administration, in connivance with traders, has evicted small traders. These small traders are not only Muslims, there are Hindus too. Since these big traders are sympathetic towards the BJP, I asked the people not to purchase merchandise from them,” he said.
“I never said anything about Hindu or Muslim traders but only gave statement asking the people to boycott BJP-supporting traders,” Hasan told reporters in the Central Hall of UP Assembly on Monday.
The legislator further said that small traders in Kairana were on the verge of starvation as the authorities had stopped their small businesses just to appease big traders, who were BJP supporters.
Minority Welfare Minister Mohsin Raza said that such statements exposed the mindset of the SP lawmaker.
“One cannot differentiate between Hindu and Muslim traders. Suppose if a call is given asking Hindus not to purchase goods from Muslims, then what would happen?” he asked.
The video, which has now gone viral, shows Hasan urging people in Kairana and nearby villages to stop buying merchandise from traders supporting BJP for a few days.
“For ten days, one month. Go elsewhere, to other villages but for solidarity with your brothers, face some hardship. But boycott these BJP people in the market. Only then things will improve. Their homes run because we buy things from them. And because of that, we are suffering,” he said.
Kairana is a communally sensitive region and the place was in news a few years ago after reports surfaced about the exodus of Hindu families.