SRINAGAR: Peeved over a beef party thrown at the MLA hostel in capital Srinagar last night, the BJP legislators assaulted an independent lawmaker in the State Legislature Thursday and also hurled invectives at him.

The shameful incident happened soon after the Question Hour began when the BJP's Ravinder Raina entered into an argument with Engineer Rashid, who represents north Kashmir's Langate constituency.

The argument soon turned violent and Rashid, who had thrown an open beef party at the MLA hostel last night, was surrounded by BJP legislators with Raina kicking and punching him. Beef kebabs, beef 'ristas' (meatballs) and beef patties were served to guests at the party.

However, the opposition members came to Rashid's rescue after which the situation was brought under control.

Deputy chief minister Dr Nirmal Singh regretted the incident and apologised to the House for the disruption.

Former chief minister Omar Abdullah condemned the happening, saying that the religious sentiments of every community must be respected. "We are here to talk, not to beat up anyone. Our religion says drinking liquor is crime , so should I start attacking the people here who drink in the house. We do not impose what our religion says on others," he said.

The BJP is demanding capital punishment for those who violate J&K Constitution that calls for punitive action against people involved in sale and consumption of beef. The party has also brought a resolution in the House to amend the law.

The Opposition National Conference, Congress and a few independent Valley-based legislators have brought their own bills, demanding scrapping of the archaic act.

Rashid has said he wants to convey a message that "no courts or legislature can prevent the people from eating what they want" by hosting the beef party.

"It hardly makes any difference whether you accept or reject the bill. Religious matters cannot be kept subservient to courts and assembly," Rashid had said. "Nobody on earth, no assembly, no court and no institution can stop us from having what we want to have," he added.

At the order returned, Rashid walked into the well of the House during Calling Attention Notice period, carrying a banner urging the House to discuss the beef ban in the state.

PDP's Minister for rural development, Abdul Haq Khan, requested Rashid to return to his seat but he refused to relent.