New Delhi: In an Independence Day speech that presented his vision of a new India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today emphasised that "violence in the name of faith is unacceptable." It was another reminder from the Prime Minister that mob attacks by cow vigilantes on people they accuse of smuggling or eating beef will not be brooked.
"Violence in the name of one's belief is not something to be happy about. It will not be accepted in India," PM Modi said, also adding, "Peace, unity and amity are important for the nation's growth." Casteism and communalism, the PM said, can never benefit the country or the people and must not be endorsed.
The Prime Minister recalled the Quit India movement against British rule 75 years ago and said, "the call then was for Bharat Choro (leave India), now the slogan is Bharat joro (unite India)."
As mob killings, especially by cow vigilantes, has spiked in many parts of the country, PM Modi has frequently warned against such violence. He and his party the BJP have been repeatedly attacked by the opposition, with the Congress accusing the government of "indirectly encouraging" cow vigilantism in the monsoon session of Parliament that just ended.
"This is Hindustan, let it be Hindustan...don't make it Lynchistan," Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge had said, adding, "I don't say they are directly doing this, but the government is indirectly encouraging organisations linked to the BJP like the VHP, the Bajrang Dal and also Gau Rakshaks (Cow Vigilantes)."
There were heated debates in both Houses of Parliament, with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, fronting for the government in the Rajya Sabha, saying, "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."
Mr Jaitley also reminded Parliament that PM Modi has spoken several times on the matter.
Ahead of the monsoon session, the Prime Minister had at an all-party meeting asked state governments to take strict action against those who attack people in the name of cow protection and had urged opposition parties to help the government in its fight against "communal violence in the name of cow protection."
He said that to many Hindus the cow is like a mother, but this should not let people take law in their hands and that every state government should act against those who violate the law.