Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge on Monday accused the government of indirectly encouraging cow vigilantes and noted that there was an environment of “fear and terror” in the country. Initiating a debate in the Lok Sabha on mob lynchings, Kharge said: “The government is indirectly encouraging groups like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal and gau bhakts (cow vigilantes).”
He urged the government not to turn Hindustan into “lynchistan”. Don’t make lynchistan out of Hindustan,” Kharge said.
He said the incidents of mob lynchings were not coming down. Slamming the BJP governments in Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh, the Congress leader said: “Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh have become mob lynching centres.”
Kharge was referring to increasing incidents of cow vigilantes lynching people on suspicion of carrying beef or while ferrying cattle. Kharge said that minorities, Dalits and women were being targetted under the Modi government.
He also demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should come to the House and clear his government’s stand on the issue of mob lynching. Kharge was interrupted by BJP’s Nishikant Dubey, who said that the cases mentioned by him were subjudice and asked why he was discussing them.
Responding to Dubey, the Congress leader asked the government how many cases were registered against cow vigilantes and how many people had been arrested. “On one hand you disown these people, but what action is being taken against them?” he asked, adding that no action was being taken against such people.
Hitting out at the government, Kharge said, “All these crimes are happening because you are trying to impose your ideology and philosophy on the people.”He said the lynchings were “planned”, and mentioned Pehlu Khan, who was killed in Rajasthan in April when he was transporting cows with all valid documents, and other victims of mob lynchings.
BJP member Hukmdev Narayan Yadav however termed it a conspiracy against the government. “These programmes are being run to malign the government… It is important to find out who is behind these attacks,” Yadav said. As opposition members protested, he said: “I am not blaming any party.”
Yadav said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked states to take action and it is now the responsibility of state governments to take action. The debate was taken up on Monday after a meeting of the Business Advisory Council of Lok Sabha on Thursday. The lower house saw protests and disruptions through last week as opposition members demanded a debate on the issue, leading even to suspension of six Congress MPs for five days.