Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Monday said that his government was “equally committed” to protecting lives of humans and cows, PTI reported. “We will provide protection to everyone. People are important, the cow is also important,” he said.
His statement comes days after a man, identified as Rakbar Khan, was lynched by a group of men in Rajasthan’s Alwar district on suspicion of cattle smuggling.
Speaking against lynching, Adityanath said, “With laws already in place to protect cows and the government being responsive to this issue, violence in the name of cow protection would not be tolerated.”
However, the chief minister also made it clear that his government was committed to the protection of cattle from smuggling and slaughter.
On the issue of mob lynching in UP, the chief minister said, “No such case has been reported from UP so far but wherever these are happening, they have to be stopped.”
He further said, “However, cow smuggling and slaughter also should be stopped…Under no circumstances can we allow cow slaughter and smuggling. Everyone’s faith must be respected.”
Rejecting the charge that stray cows were causing problems for farmers, Adityanath said, “The problem of stray cattle has existed in the state even before we came to power. In fact, it is our government which has created ‘gaushalas’ for cows in each district in the state.”
RSS and BJP leaders have been vocal against cow slaughter, with RSS leader Indresh Kumar saying if the practice of eating beef was stopped, many “crimes of the Satan” could be curtailed, in an apparent reference to the incidents of mob lynching. Union minister Giriraj Singh, supporting Kumar’s views, said the RSS leader must have made the comment after “proper thought”.
BJP leader, Vinay Katiyar and Meenakshi Lekhi also joined the league of those voicing their concerns over cow slaughter. While Katiyar said cows must not be killed “as Hindus get aggressive over it”, Lekhi called those raising the issue of lynching as “hypocrites”, saying they have forgotten the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and the alleged “lynching of kar sevaks” in 2002 that triggered communal riots in Gujarat.
With PTI inputs