New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday hit out at those killing in the name of "Gau Raksha", saying, "When mob frenzy becomes so high, irrational and uncontrollable, we have to pause and reflect."
In the light of several incidents of lynching over the past couple of years, the President asked: "Are we vigilant enough to save the basic tenets of our time?"
"I believe that vigilance by citizens and the media can act as the biggest deterrent to forces of darkness and backwardness," he added.
Mukherjee also said that one cannot obliterate one's duty towards the issue, saying, "Posterity will demand an explanation from us about what we have done. I raise this question within myself."
The president also appealed to the media to remain constantly vigilant saying it is because of it that democracy survives.
"You must rise to preserve and ensure human dignity is maintained, slavery is kept away. You will have to maintain your vigilance," Mukherjee said.
"I do believe that citizen's vigilance, intellectual vigilance and media vigilance can act as the biggest deterrent to the forces of darkness and backwardness," he said.
President Mukherjee's comments on the spiralling violence against the minorities came two days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi also took the "cow vigilantes" to task while speaking in Gujarat.
“Killing people in the name of gau bhakti is not acceptable. This is not something Mahatma Gandhi would approve of,” Modi had said on Thursday.
The issue of cow-protection has come to the centre stage as a number of people, many of them Muslims, have been lynched, beaten and intimidated for transporting cows and other cattle. Even government rules regarding cattle slaughter have added to the atmosphere of fear and confusion.
However, the Prime Minister’s warning seemed to have had a little effect as just hours after his speech, Alimuddin, a meat trader, was lynched in Jharkhand’s Ramgarh.
Junaid, a 15-year-old boy from Haryana, was stabbed to death by a mob on a train over the suspicion that he was carrying beef.
In April 2017, Pehlu Khan, a 55-year-old farmer from Haryana, was also murdered by cow protectors in Rajasthan while transporting cows legally purchased from a market in Jaipur.
Mohammad Akhlaque, a resident of Bisara village in Greater Noida was lynched in 2015 on suspicion of storing beef in his fridge.
Other communities have also suffered violence at the hands of the cow protectors.
Banjara villagers in Rajasthan, whose traditional occupation is buying cattle and selling it for agricultural purposes, were assaulted in Bhilwara district of Rajasthan.
Gau rakshaks have become so brazen that earlier this month they assaulted a team of animal husbandry officials from Tamil Nadu who were transporting cattle in Barmer.
(With inputs from PTI)