The Congress and the Left parties on Thursday rejected as “eyewash” Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement that killing people on the pretext of cow protection is “unacceptable”. While Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s official Twitter handle stated that the remarks are “too little too late”, and that the words “mean nothing when actions “out do them”, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad and CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said the statement came under public pressure.
“This is yet another publicity stunt. The statement has been given under public pressure…because the entire country was on the streets yesterday,” Azad said, referring to protests against lynchings, in most cases allegedly by cow vigilantes, under the slogan “Not In My Name”. Azad said state governments under the BJP and the Prime Minister have not taken any action against anyone accused of lynching in the last three years. “We do not have faith in his statements. We will believe only when he punishes them,” Azad said.
Yechury said, “Pressure from the public has forced the Prime Minister to break silence on lynchings but these words are meaningless unless followed by action by BJP governments.” Referring to the PM’s remarks that taking part in violence in the name of “gau bhakti (cow worship)” goes against the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi, Yechury said, “We know it is unacceptable for the Father of the Nation. But what about the PM and his government? Is it unacceptable for the PM? And if it is, why is no action is being taken?”
He told The Indian Express: “They are criminals. They are violating the law of the land. Why are BJP’s central and state governments not taking action according to the law?” CPI general secretary S Sudhakar Reddy shot off an open letter to Modi, saying that while his statement was welcome, action must follow. He wrote: “We believe this is the fourth time you are speaking on this issue in the last one year. As action did not follow, it is reported that 28 people have been lynched in the last one year, and 24 of them belong to the Muslim community…. No punishment is given even in a single case till today, either on cow vigilantes or in case of attacks against Dalits.”