New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday said that no one will be allowed to take the law into their own hands, in a reference to the recent spate of lynchings by self-proclaimed Gau Rakshaks. He, however, also questioned the ‘selective morality’ when it comes to condemning incidents of violence.
“Just as killing of a human being in the name of cow should be condemned unequivocally, in areas where cow slaughter is prohibited, they shouldn’t celebrate it,” Jaitley said in the Rajya Sabha. Addressing the Opposition benches he added, “No one has the right to take the law into their hands, but selective morality or call of conscience is a problem.”
The debate in the Upper House of Parliament saw lively exchanges between the government and Opposition on the issue of mob lynchings in the name of cow protection. Ghulam Nabi Azad of the Congress said his home state of Jammu & Kashmir had cow slaughter laws introduced during the time of the maharaja of Kashmir which were still in place. No one had an objection to these, he said. But what was disturbing was news of lynchings like those of Junaid in a train or Pehlu Khan, who was transporting milch cattle.
In his reply, Jaitley said the Union government had passed instructions to states to act against people who indulged in vigilantism and lynchings in the name of cow protection. He added that in each case of lynching the legal process had been initiated and the accused had been arrested. “All will be chargesheeted and prosecuted,” the FM said. “Hurt sentiments cannot be used as an excuse and the Prime Minister has thrice condemned the activities of gau rakshaks,” Jaitley added.
However, he told the Opposition benches that a majority of the laws banning cow slaughter in the country had been brought under Congress regimes. “Baba Saheb [Ambedkar] and Panditji [Nehru] were secular, but they said that the cow has a cultural significance in our country.”
Jaitley said, after the NDA government took charge isolated incidents of violence were taken up by the Opposition and a picture of ‘intolerance’ was painted. “Before the Delhi elections, there were Church attacks which the police investigated and found no political angel, but the New York Times wrote about it and said India had become intolerant,” Jaitley said.