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Whither are the sermons?

THE ASIAN AGE. | JAIVEER SHERGILL
Published : Sep 14, 2017, 6:59 am IST
Updated : Sep 14, 2017, 7:00 am IST

Minorities were first target of the syndicate and now it has been extended to dalits and tribals.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi (Photo: AP)
 Prime Minister Narendra Modi (Photo: AP)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi keeps on saying that “nobody can kill in the name of cow”, but meat traders, particularly those belonging to a minority community, are lynched and harassed. This speaks of the contradictions between the Prime Minister’s sermons and the practice of the Sangh Parivar, including the BJP.

If only the reported cases are to be believed, more than 50 cases of lynching have taken place and over two dozen people, including women and children, have been killed by cow vigilantes since the Modi government came to power in May 2014. Lynching has become the favourite past time of the so-called “cow protectors”. Minorities were first target of the syndicate and now it has been extended to dalits and tribals.

Mr Modi invokes Mahatma Gandhi in his remarks on killings in the name of cows. But the Prime Minister fails to make it clear to whom his message is intended. He prefers to remain silent on who are the individuals and which are the organisations running hate campaigns on beef issue and other religious lines, and what action would be taken against these hate-mongers for spreading violence in society and diving society on religious lines.

Sometime back a “sadhvi” openly advocated killing of beefeaters in a public programme in Goa but no action was taken against her. There are umpteen incidents which directly link Sangh Parivar functionaries to these lynching and cow vigilantism, but neither the Centre nor the BJP-run state governments, where such hooliganism and criminal incidents usually take place, not a single person has been brought to justice.

The fact is certain sections of people are being targeted and attacked because of their religious identity. This is nothing short of “jungle raj” when people belonging to the ruling section hijack the Constitution and take law into their own hands, trampling democracy. If at all it is purely a law and order issue, why the Prime Minister is not holding the BJP chief ministers to account for failing to protect the Constitution of India? After all, it is the BJP-ruled states where mob lynching has become a normal justice dispensation mechanism.

For the last three years, our country has been going through a socio-political turmoil. It is the responsibility of both the Central government and state governments where such incidents are happening to come down hard on these criminal elements.

Being a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1948, India has an international commitment to protect lives and dignity of our people. By standing on the wrong side, the Modi government is doing a great disservice not only to the Constitution of India but to its electoral mandate.

The beauty of Indian nationhood lies in celebration of diversities and its composite character. Every community has its own practices and internalising cultures and traditions of each other will make us a stronger nation.

Mahatma Gandhi has written in the Hind Swaraj: “If a person kills another person in order to save a cow, he not only becomes an enemy of the humanity but of the cow as well.” Gandhiji had advocated for dialogue between communities, to appeal the collective conscience of society, on such issues. The average Indian is not growing intolerant but those who set the standards of public discourse should exercise liberality in their views and practice.

The author is a Supreme Court lawyer and Congress’ national media panelist. Views expressed are personal.

Tags: narendra modi, cow vigilantes, mahatma gandhi