Unacceptable to kill people in grab of cow protection : Modi

Unacceptable to kill people in grab of cow protection : Modi

 Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s assertion that “it is unacceptable to kill people in the garb of cow protection” is not new.

Last year too, he had come down heavily on cow vigilantes or ‘gau rakshaks’ in the wake of attacks on Dalits.

Modi had last spoken on the issue seven months prior to the Uttar Pradesh polls. His statement this time comes ahead of the Gujarat elections, which will be held in December. As in Uttar Pradesh, the BJP in Gujarat too, faces a challenge to not just win over but also retain the Dalit votes. 

Dalits and Muslims have been targeted by cow vigilantes as some of them are seen as traditionally being connected to the trade in skinning and disposing of the animal carcasses.

Addressing a meet here in August 2016, Modi had declared that “pseudo gau rakshaks” were indulging in anti-social activities. Modi’s comment came after four Dalit youths were beaten up by cow vigilantes in Gujarat when they were allegedly skinning a dead cow.

This time too, Modi has sought to admonish such groups amid a spurt in media reports of attacks by cow vigilantes.

Last week, a group of people on a train killed 16-year-old Junaid Khan, ahead of Eid. On April 1, cow vigilantes thrashed Pehlu Khan — who was part of a group of 15 Muslim men carrying cattle in Rajasthan’s Alwar district — to death.

Since then, the Opposition has criticised Modi for not condemning strongly enough, the growing list of attacks by self-declared cow vigilantes, many of whom were operating in the BJP-ruled states.

On Thursday, Modi spoke against such attacks at Mahatma Gandhi’s Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad - a day after people across cities turned up for protests “Not in My Name” against mob attacks.

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