DC Debate: The cow agenda

The Modi govt is not serious about cracking down on cow vigilante lynch mobs.

The climate of insecurity is rising

Tarun Kumar

A year after the Narendra Modi government assumed power at the Centre, Dadri lynching case happened, where a group of people beat 50-year-old Mohammad Akhlaq to death for allegedly consuming cow meat. It took eight days for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to condemn the incidents. Mr Modi is known for his instant reactions on things happening across the world. So why did he take so long to even release a statement condemning the incident? We all expected justice for Akhlaq and no more Akhlaqs happening in the country thereafter. However, the situation has gone from bad to worse.

In the first six months of the year, 20 attacks in the name of cow vigilantism were reported, which is more than 75 per cent of the 2016 figure. It is the worst-ever scenario for such violence since 2010.

Of the 63 attacks in eight years, 61 (96.8 per cent) occurred after the Modi government came to power (in 2014). “Cow vigilantism” is being used basically to spread terror in certain communities and to suppress a particular section of society.

Since 2014, we have seen brutal killings of mostly Muslims and dalits in the name of cow protection. These killings have been very carefully organised by Hindu supremacist groups, which are ideologically aligned with the BJP-led government and drawing inspiration from the beef ban imposed by governments in various states.

The increasing hostility towards minorities displayed by even Union ministers in the form of provocative speeches and statements has only added fuel to fire.

The entire Cabinet, including Prime Minister and home minister is at loss of words to explain what steps the BJP-led government is taking to ensure security of citizens.

It shows the government’s inability to protect citizens against harassment and violence by self-proclaimed Hindu vigilante groups, who are targeting Muslims and dalits.

Police inaction and slapping of counter-cases against the victims has encouraged cow vigilante groups, which have begun to increase tremendously, specially in the northern part of the country and in BJP-ruled states.

It is not difficult to judge the current wave of vigilantism in the name of cow protection and religion as a conscious, strategic and systematic attempt to instigate religious feelings in secular and multicultural India. Such incidents are a threat to the Ganga Jamuni tehzeeb of this country.

The Modi government looks like a joint venture of the BJP-RSS, whose clear agenda is to engineer a sharp communal divide in the country. By continuously raising the issue, the party enhances its image as the only protector of Hindu religion and culture in India.

This communal polarisation in the country is also done to divert the attention of public from the real issues the country is threatened with, such as unemployment, economic slowdown, farmer suicides, the Kashmir conflict, terrorism and Naxalism.

Today, anyone who dares to criticise the Hindutva agenda and intolerance, s/he is subjected to harsh criticism and pressure. The climate of scepticism and insecurity is rising.

The politics of hate against minorities is something which should be a cause of worry for everyone.

The approach which the government has taken is not progressive and not in the welfare of this nation. If the government continues to overlook issues of lynchings, we fear that the angry and frustrated Muslims and dalits, specially youngsters, may fall in the trap of radicalisation.

The writer is All India Congress Committee secretary

All crimes need to be condemned

Harish Khurana

Cow is treated as a mother in India and is an emotive issue. But we have to understand that there are laws governing cow protection and breaking it is not an alternative,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a series of tweets after an all-party meeting recently.

“The state governments should take stringent action against such anti-social elements,” the PM said, adding they should also check whether some people are settling personal scores in the name of cow vigilantism.

Seeking the support of Opposition parties in tackling “communal violence” in the name of cow protection, Mr Modi also warned against giving a political or communal colour to the issue. This was the third time he gave strict warning to the so-called “gau rakshaks”.

The National Crime Records Bureau’s data shows that the number of communal riots declined from 1,227 in 2014 to 789 in 2015 along with an overall decline in the total number of riots over the few years before that.

Similarly, the NCRB only began to record “promoting enmity between different groups” from 2014. Those cases rose from 336 to 424 between 2014 and 2015, but we know little about the period before that.

In July 2013, communal violence flared in Nanglamal, Meerut. Two people died and a dozen were injured when Hindus and Muslims clashed over complaints by the latter about music blaring from loudspeakers outside a temple. The incident turned violent when a few Muslims switched off the temple’s loudspeaker and a Muslim mob beat up a few temple-goers.

The recent incident, which has galvanised the nation, was the lynching of a Muslim man in Dadri by a Hindu mob because he was suspected of having cow meat at home.

In October 2014, in Bengaluru, a well-known anti-cow slaughter activist was attacked and beaten by a Muslim mob for merely distributing his book arguing against cow slaughter. To put matters in perceptive, data from the ministry of home affairs on communal violence tells a very sobering tale. As summarised here, there were 668, 823 and 644 incidents of communal violence nationwide in 2012, 2013 and 2014 respectively, the last three full years for which we have data. In each of these three years, Uttar Pradesh recorded 118, 247 and 133 communal incidents, which resulted in 39, 77 and 26 deaths respectively, and 500, 360 and 374 injuries respectively.

Why is the Opposition silent on incidents happening in states like West Bengal, Karnataka and Kerala? I haven’t heard even a single statement by any Opposition leader.

A communal incident is a communal incident, whether it’s against Hindus, Muslims or dalits. It has to be condemned strongly. Why the pick and choose policy by the Opposition? Every time an incident takes place in any state, whether it’s ruled by the BJP, Congress, Left or Trinamul Congress, the Opposition comes out all guns blazing against

Mr Modi. The law and order is under the state government. Is that particular state not answerable first? The Congress is raising issues of mob lynching when incidents like 1984 massacre, 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots and many more incidents happened in their tenure.

I understand the frustration of the Opposition that today they don’t have anything to point out against the Modi government, and the popularity graph of this government is going up day-by-day. That is why they blame the PM.

We should condemn all incidents that are against any caste or religion. There should not be a pick and choose policy. We should rise against these few hundred anti-social elements in one voice.

The writer is Delhi BJP spokesperson

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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