'PM Modi’s remark on cow vigilantes objectionable, will encourage killing of cows'
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday faced criticism from several quarters for his lashing at ‘self-proclaimed gau rakshaks’. On one hand Opposition criticised him for speaking up too late, his supporters spoke up for hurting the ‘cow protection movement’.
Swami Narendranand Saraswati, the Shakaracharya of Kashi Sumeru Peeth, condemned Prime Minister’s statement and said it encouraged the killing of cows and financially benefitted those who kill cows.
“The statement of the Prime Minister is objectionable and it is giving encouragement to killing of cows. The protectors of cows don’t run shops, they sacrifice their lives for the protection of cows,” Saraswati told ANI.
“The Prime Minister’s statement has somewhere financially benefitted the persons who kill cows. Can’t the Prime Minister see that cow meat is being sold in the five-star hotels of Delhi? The Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Gau Samvardhan Parishad and the Sangh talked the most about cow protection….So, are the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the Bajrang Dal running shops all these while?” he added.
“Air and milk are being pumped into the breasts of cows in Punjab…can’t the Prime Minister see this? On one hand, his conscience says that the slaughter houses won’t be closed and now the Prime Minister says shops in the name of cow protection should be closed. This is a nation of the cows and they should be protected. If someone does anything wrong, then action should be initiated,” Saraswati said.
Modi's comments did not go down well with right-wing social media users who said they were let down by the PM's criticism of cow protectors. Many vented their anger on Twitter under the hanshtag 'garv se kaho gau rakshak hain' (Proclaim with pride, we are cow protectors.)”
Modi’s political opponents also attacked him for speaking too late.
Congress spokesperson Tom Vaddakan said, “The Prime Minister’s political angle is understandable; he has lost a Chief Minister, he probably on the verge of losing that state. But our indignation is much higher.”
CPM leader Sitaram Yechury yesterday took to Facebook after PM Modi’s comments and iterated that ‘PM was remaining silent on the issue of commitment to uphold the rule of law’.
“He has said he is “angry” at Gau-Rakshaks (Cow Vigilantes) but not said what action is being contemplated by the government at the Centre or BJP govts in states,” Yechury said in the post. He also added that the PM made no such comment which would indicate restraint on BJP leaders who continue to make vitriolic statements against certain communities when it comes to gau raksha.
Yesterday, at a Town Hall-style address to mark the second anniversary of his government's MyGov initiative, the PM rebuked the cow vigilantes and said that most of them were anti-social" elements who are running "shops" in the name of cow protection which makes him "angry".
He asked state governments to prepare "dossiers" on the so-called cow protectors as 80 per cent of them do illegal activities at night and become cow protectors in the day, asserting that running such help groups does not mean harassing others.
His comments come at a time when his government and BJP are facing flak over incidents of violence against Dalits and Muslims by cow vigilantes in various states including Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.
Last month, in his home state of Gujarat, four dalits were publicly thrashed by cow vigilantes for skinning a dead cow. Subsequently, Dalits in the state have united and protesting all over the state against the ‘oppression’ by upper caste Hindus.