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PM Narendra Modi Says Killing in Name of Cow Worship Not Acceptable

Speaking out against cow vigilantism, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said killing people in the name of protecting cows is not acceptable.

Updated:June 29, 2017, 6:20 PM IST
New Delhi: In a stern message to gau rakshaks, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said that killing people in the name of cow protection is not acceptable.

“Killing people in the name of gau bhakti is not acceptable. This is not something Mahatma Gandhi would approve of,” Modi said at Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad. The PM added that no one will be allowed to take the law into their hands.

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.

ALSO READ | PM's Past Interventions: Will the Gau Rakshaks Listen to Modi?

A notification by the government in May stated that people buying and selling cattle in markets must submit in writing that it is not meant for slaughter. Further, a market committee would have to be formed in every cattle market and fair to enforce this provision. The government argued that the rules were meant for preventing cruelty to animals.

PM Modi said that, “Mahatma Gandhi and Vinoba Bhave have shown us what real gau raksha is. There is no place for violence in society.” He added that killing a person does not qualify as cow protection.

A string of lynchings has put the spotlight on cow protectors. One of the most high-profile was Pehlu Khan, a farmer from Haryana who was murdered in April by so-called 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.

Welcoming the PM’s statement, Congress leader Renuka Chowdhury said, “We are glad the PM has finally spoken out. But what steps does his government plan to take to check such incidents?”

AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi, however, called the PM’s comments “mere lip service”. “Prime Minister’s statement is mere lip service as there has been slip between the cup and the lip.”

Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee said “just words are not enough”.

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