Government Acting Against Cow Vigilantes, Arun Jaitley Tells Rajya Sabha

Opposition leaders had earlier blamed the government including Prime Minister Narendra Modi for creating an environment that encouraged such violence.

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Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said arguments of sentiments being hurt could not rationalise mob violence.


NEW DELHI:  Killings in the name of "sentiments" being hurt due to cow slaughter is unacceptable and stern action is taken against those indulging in such violence, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Thursday, capping a raucous debate in the Rajya Sabha on a reported spike in instances mob violence in recent months.

Opposition leaders had earlier blamed the government including Prime Minister Narendra Modi for creating an environment that encouraged such violence. The government promptly hit back counting deaths during the Congress regime including the 1984 anti-Sikh riots that killed thousands after Indira Gandhi's assassination.

Mr Jaitley, who was standing in for Home Minister Rajnath Singh who fractured his leg last month, insisted the government's stand was 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.

"People were arrested and they are in jail. They are all going to be charge-sheeted against whom evidence is going to be found... This is clear and there is no 'ifs' and 'buts'," the minister said.

The finance minister pointed that PM Modi had spoken thrice against cow vigilantism and promised that "no amount of sympathy" will be shown for those who cross the red line.

But the Congress' Kapil Sibal lay the blame for much of the violence at PM Modi's doors. "It is the Prime Minister whose statement is different during night and different during day," Mr Sibal said, referring to PM Modi's previous statements that had helped create the environment for such violence.

The Congress leader also dismissed the BJP's renewed efforts to distance the party from groups such as the right-wing Vishwa Hindu Parishad. "The VHP has announced that they will recruit holy warriors. And you say you have nothing to do with this. They are your people," he said.

Human Resource Minister Prakash Javadekar proclaimed that the burning of a coach of the Sabarmati Express coach in Godhra - that triggered the 2002 Gujarat riots - was the worst case of lynching so far.

"A mob of thousands burnt alive Ram bakhts (devotees) returning from Ayodhya. They poured kerosene and burnt alive 42 people. There never has been a worse lynching than this," Mr Javadekar said. Having made his point, the minister hastened to add that even if one person is lynched today, "it is equally condemnable".


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