New Delhi: Hours after a 28-year-old man was lynched in Rajasthan's Alwar on suspicion of cow smuggling, Union minister Arjun Ram Meghwal came up with a bizarre link between the incident and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's growing popularity, hinting at a conspiracy to defame the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the central government ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
"The more popular Modi ji becomes, the more such incidents will happen. In Bihar election it was 'Award Wapsi', in Uttar Pradesh elections it was mob lynching. In 2019 elections it will be something else. Prime Minister Modi gave several schemes, their effects can be seen, this (lynching) incident is just one reaction to it," Meghwal, who was in Jaipur for the state BJP’s working committee meeting, said on Saturday.
Rakbar Khan, 28, was allegedly lynched by a group of people who accused him of smuggling cows, following which three men were arrested. The incident drew sharp criticism from various political leaders, including Rajasthan chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, who promised stern action in the case.
He further claimed that the anti-Sikh riots of 1984 was the “biggest case of mob lynching” in India, borrowing the reference from Union home minister Rajnath Singh, who said in the Parliament on Friday that the Sikh "genocide" was the "biggest case of mob lynching".
"We condemn mob-lynching but this isn't a single incident. You have to trace this back in history. Why does this happen? Who should stop this? What happened with Sikhs in 1984 was the biggest mob lynching of this nation's history," Meghwal told reporters.
The state Congress slammed the BJP for failing to stop such attacks. “Saddened by news of a man beaten to death in Alwar. Killing of people on “suspicion” is sadly becoming a norm in BJP-ruled states,” party’s state president Sachin Pilot tweeted.
Saddened by news of a man beaten to death in Alwar. Killing of people on "suspicion" is sadly becoming a norm in BJP ruled states.— Sachin Pilot (@SachinPilot) July 21, 2018
The Home Minister's words in Parliament about state governments responsibility in stopping mob lynching seem even more hollow now. https://t.co/MLcS5lAo3n
Congress general secretary Ashok Gehlot also termed the incident “horrific”.
The cases of mob fury have been on a rise in India. According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, 45 people have been killed by mob in 40 cases across nine states between 2014 and March 3 this year.