Crack down hard – PM’s anti-lynching remarks must be followed up

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July 1, 2017, TOI Edit in TOI Editorials, Edit Page

James Kottor(Note:  All well-meaning persons in the media should follow the example of Times, repeating ad nauseam, to the Powers that be, to start taking action against  ‘gau bhaktas’ and stop talking only against murderers.

Let Modiji take it up as an on going theme of his  Mann ki Baat address, and follow it up with action, action, action! james kottoor,editor)

Speaking out against lynchings, Prime Minister Narendra Modi did well to assert that nobody has the right to take the law into his own hands and that indulging in violence in the name of ‘gau bhakti’ is against the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi.

The stern warning is timely as it comes on the heels of a Muslim teenager being brutally murdered on a train in Ballabgarh after he was accused of carrying beef. The evidence suggests that incidents of lynching and assault by cow vigilantes have gone up sharply across the country since NDA took office in 2014.

It highlights the gravity of the situation that even as Modi was making his remarks, a meat trader in Jharkhand’s Ramgarh district was lynched by a mob for allegedly transporting ‘prohibited meat’. Plus, this isn’t the first time that Modi has spoken against cow vigilantes – he had made similar remarks last year after the flogging of Dalit youths in Gujarat’s Una. But little has changed on the ground. Cow vigilantes feel emboldened under the BJP dispensation and view the police as lenient towards them.

This perception needs to be broken. First, Modi should speak against cow vigilantism repeatedly – even make it a subject of his Mann ki Baat address – to drive home his point. Second, a zero tolerance policy needs to be adopted towards lynching. Police action like that in Jharkhand’s Giridih district – where 15 policemen managed to hold off a mob of thousands to rescue a dairy farmer who was attacked because the carcass of a cow was found outside his house – should be publicly extolled.

Lastly, draconian anti-cow slaughter laws brought in since 2014 need to be revised. They have become like Pakistan’s blasphemy laws which trigger violence by their extreme nature. Otherwise, BJP’s development agenda risks being hijacked by the radical fringe.

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  1. Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi took time to express his well considered condemnation of illegal activities by self-styled cow protectors and vigilantes, as reported by the media.

     

    AGNI, along with all right-thinking citizens, echoes that sentiment.  Unfortunately, within hours of the Prime Minister’s words, there were fresh attacks and acts of violence based on flimsy, if any, evidence of beef- eating or disrespect of the cow. What is needed are not mere declarations from the top but strict action to enforce the law at ground level.  

     

    The Prime Minister, perhaps more than anybody else, matches action to his words. In this case, action lies mainly with the States. This should not, however, be an alibi for not enforcing the law and bringing culprits to book.  There are enough States ruled by his party to convert his views into reality and set an example to others. It is common knowledge that the police sing to the tune of their political masters.

     

    There has been a nationwide outcry against what is happening. It is a strong expression of public anguish.  Let it not be forgotten that, in two years, politicians will have to return to the people seeking a mandate. They cannot forget, nor ignore, the basic, immutable and eternal values enshrined in our Constitution.    

     

    The Trustees of AGNI – Action for good Governance and Networking in India. 

     

    AGNI,

    Chadha Building, Plot No. 95, Wadala, Mumbai 400 031.

    Tel: 2416 5956

    Email: agni.central@gmail.com

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