Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge on Monday accused the government of indirectly encouraging the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal and other cow vigilante groups to carry out mob lynchings. He said since the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance came to power at the Centre, incidents of violence in the name of cow protection had increased in the country.

“Violence in the name of cow protectionism is not stopping,” Kharge said in the Lok Sabha. “Nothing is being done about this. Today, the entire country is living in fear, and there is an atmosphere of terror because of such incidents.”

Kharge listed out instances of mob violence in Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. “Wherever the BJP is in power, incidents of mob violence and lynchings take place,” he claimed.

The senior Congress leader further said that Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh had become the country’s “mob lynching centres”. “Let us be Hindustan and not ‘Lynchistan,’” he said, adding that the government was “imposing itself on what a person can eat and who one can love”.

BJP reacts

Responding to Kharge’s allegations, Union minister Ananth Kumar said the Congress leader must submit proof of his claims . “Every state government has taken action against each of these incidents,” Kumar said. “He is misleading the House.”

BJP’s Hukmdev Narayan Yadav said it was the state’s duty to prevent such incidents. “The Centre cannot send paramilitary forces on its own,” Yadav said.

Nishikant Dubey, another BJP leader, said Kharge was not allowed to talk about the cases of mob lynchings as the matter was sub judice.