Modi hits out at ‘cow pro­tec­tors’

The Myanmar Times - - World -

IN­DIA’S Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi hit out at a spate of at­tacks by cow-pro­tect­ing vig­i­lantes, urg­ing ac­tion against peo­ple who used re­li­gion as a cover for com­mit­ting crime.

Crit­ics say killings in the name of pro­tect­ing cows, con­sid­ered sa­cred by In­dia’s Hindu ma­jor­ity, have in­creased since the na­tion­al­ist prime min­is­ter won power in 2014.

Hun­dreds of peo­ple were de­tained in west­ern In­dia last month when protests against an at­tack on four low-caste vil­lagers who were tak­ing a cow to be skinned turned vi­o­lent.

Mr Modi said he would task state gov­ern­ments with in­ves­ti­gat­ing any­one linked to the at­tacks, and urged the pub­lic to take ac­tion against per­pe­tra­tors.

He pre­dicted “70-80 per­cent of them will turn out to be peo­ple who are in­volved in anti-so­cial ac­tiv­i­ties and mas­quer­ade as cow pro­tec­tors to save them­selves”.

The speech was the first com­ment on the vig­i­lante at­tacks from the Hindu na­tion­al­ist leader, who has been ac­cused of fail­ing to pro­tect re­li­gious mi­nori­ties.

Right-wing Hindu groups in In­dia have long de­manded a com­plete ban on the slaugh­ter of all cat­tle, cit­ing re­li­gious scrip­ture.

Cows are con­sid­ered sa­cred by Hin­dus and killing them car­ries a se­vere pun­ish­ment in most In­dian states.

But vig­i­lante groups have in­creas­ingly been tak­ing the mat­ter into their own hands, and crit­ics say they have been em­bold­ened un­der Mr Modi’s BJP gov­ern­ment.

A po­lice of­fi­cer was killed in west­ern Gu­jarat state last month when a protest against an at­tack on low-caste vil­lagers who were skin­ning a cow erupted into vi­o­lent clashes.

At least five Mus­lim men were killed last year by Hindu mobs on sus­pi­cion of eat­ing beef or smug­gling cows across the coun­try.

The fam­ily of one of them, who was lynched, have been told they could face crim­i­nal charges af­ter be­ing ac­cused of slaugh­ter­ing a cow.

Photo: AFP

Dalit sup­port­ers pledge not to move or skin dead cat­tle dur­ing the Dalit Asmita Yatra rally in Valthera vil­lage in Dholka Taluka on Au­gust 6.

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