NEW DELHI: Coming down hard on violence in the name of cow protection, PM Narendra Modi said during a meeting of all political parties on Sunday, “Gai ko hamare yahaan maa maante hai…lekin yeh samajhna hoga ki gau raksha ke liye kanoon hai, aur inhe todna vikalp nahi (The cow is revered as mother… but people need to understand that there is law for cow protection and taking law into their hands is not a solution).
The PM has condemned cow vigilantism in the past too, most recently on June 29 at aspeech in Ahmedabad where he invoked Mahatma Gandhi in opposing violence, but on Sunday he further sharpened his reference by referring to “communal violence” in the name of gau raksha.
“PM urged all parties to extend support to the government in fighting corruption and the issue of communal violence in the name of cow protection.
The PM said state governments must ensure maintenance of law and order and strict action must be taken against those who break the law,” said an official release. His remarks reflect the top BJP leadership’s concern over extreme and fringe right-wing elements reading the emphasis of various BJP state governments on cow protection as a carte blanche to indulge in private policing and violence against cow traffickers. The targets of these attacks have often been Muslims and on occasion Dalits, leading to cases of mob lynching.
Most recently a Muslim BJP worker was beaten up for carrying beef in Nagpur. In September, 2015 the lynching of Mohammad Akhlaq in Dadri caught national attention and in April this year, the death of Pehlu Khan in Alwar sparked similar outrage.
The PM’s categorical condemnation of violence in the name of cow protection makes it clear that he is keen to draw a firm line on the issue.
The action against cow vigilantism is, however, not likely to imply any dilution of efforts to ban illegal slaughter that was a major BJP plank in the UP polls. Modi also asserted that all political parties should stand united to ensure national security in the light of concerns raised by opposition leaders with regard to China’s intrusion on Bhutanese territory near the Sikkim-Tibet-Bhutan tri-junction and the attack on Amarnath pilgrims that resulted in the death of eight persons.