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No legal action against Yaqoob: UP govt
[February 19, 2006]

No legal action against Yaqoob: UP govt

(The Times of India Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)LUCKNOW: Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav may be upset with his minister announcing a Rs 51 crore bounty for the head of a Danish cartoonist, but his government says it will not take any legal action against Haji Yaqoob Qureshi's call for murder.

A senior home department official told TOI that since there was no criminal complaint the government had no grounds to take action.

The official said even if someone were to file a police complaint, he would have to prove that Qure-shi's call made at a Muslim rally in Meerut on Friday affected him directly.

"In case the Danish cartoonist lodges a complaint with the police fearing threat to his life following the announcement made by the minister, action would follow, else Qureshi would go scot free."

Mulayam, who declined to comment on the issue on Friday, was quoted as saying in Delhi, "Hum Qureshi ke elaan se sahmat nahin hain par unki naaraazgi se sahmat hain. (I disapprove of Qureshi's announcement but at the same time Qureshi's anger has my support.)"

Qureshi was elected from Kharkhauda in Meerut district on BSP ticket, but after the formation of the SP-led coalition government he switched loyalties and became a minister of state with independent charge of Haj and minorities affairs.

He was in the news recently when he opposed parliamentary affairs minister Mohammad Azam Khan for interfering in his ministry's affairs.

Ever since Qureshi made his remarks, opposition leaders have called for action, but other Muslim leaders have tried to distance themselves from the issue.

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board said that announcing a reward for anyone who beheaded the Danish cartoonist was an attempt to "incite passion" and "gain cheap publicity".

The BJP demanded Qureshi's resignation while the Congress asked Mulayam to break his silence on the issue and make a detailed statement.

UP leader of opposition Lalji Tandon said, "It is like giving a contract to some mafia don for killing someone.

If the minister is speaking the truth and Yadav has been taken into confidence on the announcement, the Centre should take notice and dismiss the state government forthwith," Tandon said.

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