Prime Minister Narendra Modi sent a stern message to cow vigilantes in the country saying that killing in the name of cow is unacceptable. He was speaking at the centenary celebrations of the Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad in Gujarat.
“Killing people in the name of cow is unacceptable. No one has the right to take law into his/her hands. We belong to a land of non-violence. Violence is not the solution to any problem,” said the Prime Minister. He added that Mahatma Gandhi, Father of the Nation, would not approve of such incidents.
“Vinoba Bhave and Mahatma Gandhi have shown the path to practice gau-bhakti,” PM Modi said.
The remarks come in the backdrop of several incidents of lynching and murder of people by self-styled cow vigilante groups over rumours of cow slaughter. The most recent incident was the murder of 15-year-old Junaid Khan by a group of people on a Mathura-bound train in Ballabhgarh in Haryana after an argument escalated over seats. Junaid, who was accompanied by his two brothers, was going back home after Eid shopping when he was mocked over his skull cap and referred to as a ‘beef-eater.’ Five people have been held so far in the incident.
In August last year, the Prime Minister had similarly criticised the actions of self-styled cow vigilantes and asked the States to prepare dossiers on them.
“It makes me angry that people are running shops in the name of cow protection… Some people indulge in anti-social activities at night, and in the day masquerade as cow protectors,” PM Modi said. He added that people who wanted to serve cows should ensure that the animals do not eat plastic.
On Wednesday, demonstrations were carried out by citizens under the banner of ‘Not In My Name’ at Jantar Mantar in Delhi and several other cities across the country protesting the government’s silence over such attacks on Dalits and minorities. People held banners saying ‘All lives matter’ and ‘Muslim lives matter.’
“Unless we speak up, the people who are behind it are by default going to think that they have the majority’s support — which is not true”, Monami Basu, Professor of Economics at Delhi University told indianexpress.com at the protest.