New Delhi: The government on Thursday asserted that killings in the name of cow "sentiments" was unacceptable and said the state governments should take stern action against those indulging in such violence.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who was speaking on the issue of lynchings in the Rajya Sabha on behalf of ailing Home Minister Rajnath Singh, made it clear that the central government could not be blamed for violence by "some people".
"The government's stand is clear. Nobody is allowed to do that (lynching in the name of cow protection). There is no rationalisation, no arguments of sentiments being hurt can be an explanation for this. And, the government is absolutely committed," he said.
Jaitley, who is also the Leader of the House, was replying to a debate on 'situation arising out of the reported increase in the incidents of lynching and atrocities on minorities and dalits across the country', during which the Opposition parties slammed the government and particularly targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi over such incidents.
Noting that the prime minister had spoken thrice against cow vigilantism, he said "no amount of sympathy" will be shown for those who indulge in lynching and "law will certainly take its own course."
He said the government unequivocally condemns the killings of human beings in the name of protecting cows and said "violence can never be a partisan issue and can't be justified."
Rejecting the Opposition's allegation that no action was taken in the cases of lynching, Jaitley asserted that "legal action was taken systematically in each incident. People were arrested and they are in jail. They are all going to be chargesheeted against whom evidence is going to be found...This is clear and there is no 'ifs' and 'buts'."
In his speech, he emphasised that cow slaughter was banned in most of the states since the time of first prime minister Jawaharalal Nehru, who was "secular and not over-religious" unlike Indira Gandhi who was "more religious".
"This (ban on cow slaughter) was not proposed by Modi ji or Rajnath ji. This was said by Ambedkar during Nehru's time," Jaitley said, adding ban on cow slaughter was presribed in the Article 48 of the Constitution framed by the Constituent Assembly.
Later, it was made part of 7th Schedule of the Constitution as a result of which the matter fell under the purview of the state governments.
"At that time, neither the BJP was in place, nor was any state ruled by the BJP," he said, adding most of the states then were ruled by the Congress, which framed laws prohibiting cow slaughter.
"We have laws in place and if any such incident occurs where police is not acting and brought to our notice to this effect, the government will not think twice of requesting state governments and advising the state governments and even asking for reports as well as states are concerned," he said.
"There are no 'ifs' and 'buts'. Laws made in the states have provisions to preserve and protect cows. That right is with the state and its police. Nobody has the right to take law into their hands... If anybody does it, they should be arrested and prosecuted," he said.