BJP PRESIDENT Amit Shah on Saturday defended the Narendra Modi government’s record in the face of questions in some quarters on mob lynchings, many of them allegedly by cow vigilantes, and said more incidents of lynching took place between 2011 and 2013, when the Congress-led UPA was in power at the Centre. Replying to a question on lynching, Shah said, “I do not want to compare and undermine the current incidents of lynching…. I am also serious. (But) there have been more lynchings in 2011, 2012, and 2013. Humaare teen saal main jitne lynching hue hain usse zyada hue hain ek ek saal main. Magar kabhi yeh sawaal nahi uttha thha (There have been more incidents of lynching in each of these years than in NDA’s three years.)”
To a question on the “growing apprehension” across the country over the government’s apparent lack of effective action against the perpetrators of lynching, Shah asked, “Do you know of any such incident where arrests have not been made? I do not have any answer to ‘apprehension’…. There is no apprehension anywhere in the country.” Indicating that incidents of lynching, being law and order issues, are a state subject, Shah, who is on a two-day visit to Goa, said, “Aur ab (since NDA government took office) sawaal kis tarah se uthaye jaate hain? Mohammad Akhlaq ka death hua. Uttar Pradesh mein Samajwadi Party ki sarkar hain. Law and order state subject hain. Jimmedari Samajwadi Party sarkar ki hain. Aur dharna Dilli mein Modi sarkar ke saamne nikalenge. Kya fashion hai? (And how are questions raised now? There was an SP government in UP when Akhlaq died. The responsibility is the SP government’s. But protest marches are taken out in Delhi, in front of the Modi government. What is this fashion?)”
Shah met state BJP leaders and coalition partners on Saturday morning. Later in the evening, at a hotel in capital Panaji, he met a gathering comprising professionals from various sectors, special invitees and potential voters, among others. He threw the floor open to questions at the beginning of the interaction. The questions touched upon various subjects — from real estate regulation to the state of education, and from agitation in Darjeeling for a separate state of Gorkhaland to nationalisation of rivers, among others.
On the subject of “beef ban”, specifically to Goa, when a local remarked that “yeh beef ban Goa mein nehin chalega (this beef ban won’t work in Goa)”, Shah smiled and said, “Good you brought this up…. Media ko isme ras hai. The ban was imposed in 1976 by a previous government. The BJP never imposed beef ban in Goa. But no one put this question on beef ban to the Congress.” To a question on the BJP’s plan for minorities in the state, Shah said, “In states such as Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, the population of minorities is more than the total population of Goa. We have been governing there for more than 15 years and the minorities face no problem. In fact…a sense of fear is created between the minorities and the party.”
Asked about the Kashmir crisis, the BJP president said that from the news one feels that Kashmir is gone from India but nothing like that is occurring on the ground. Maintaining that the situation in the Valley cannot be assessed in four or five months, he said, “Kashmir has seen ups and downs since 1989 — the law and order situation has always been boiling. You feel Kashmir has gone (out of our control): neither is it gone, nor will it ever go…. Our security forces will control the situation very, very soon and no one will have the courage to ever take on us again.” On the Gorkhaland issue, Shah said, “I do not hold any government responsible for the fights emerging from acceptance of any language. The Government of India cannot stop these (language politics)…. This will now have to be handled by the three sides —- the Gorkhas, Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal government), and the Indian government.”