Opposition parties on Thursday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s condemnation of the violent means taken up by so-called cow protection groups was “not enough”. Earlier in the day, Modi had said he disapproved of killings in the name of cow worship, and that no one had the right to take the law into their own hands.
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi criticised the prime minister for taking a delayed stand against cow vigilantism. “Too little, too late. Words mean nothing when actions outdo them,” Gandhi said on Twitter.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also shared her views on Twitter, saying “words are not enough”. “We condemn killings taking place in the name of gau raksha. This must stop now,” she said.
Speaking at an event in West Bengal’s Burdwan district, Banerjee said there was an environment of fear across the country because of the BJP. “No one can speak freely out of fear,” she said, according to India Today. “They are trying to subvert democracy in India. It is an absolutely totalitarian rule now. This is worse than the Emergency.”
Moreover, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi also joined the chorus of criticism directed at Modi’s statement. Calling it a “lip service”, he said: “The majority of incidents have taken place in BJP-ruled states. How is it that the BJP-ruled states are not able to stop it?”
Owaisi further accused the saffron party and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh of putting a “lesser premium to human life” than that of an animal, “especially if the human being is a Muslim or a Dalit”. He further claimed that gaurakshaks were receiving direct and indirect support from the BJP and RSS.
Mirroring Owaisi’s stand, Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav accused Modi of being a “silent supporter” of cow vigilantes. “Dividing the country in the name of religion and caste is dangerous,” he said, according to The Times of India.
The RJD chief further said Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s decision to impose a ban on illegal slaughterhouses had led to a rise in cow vigilantism. “The BJP is misleading the people of this country. Those who are objecting to its policies and diktats are being killed.”