All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Sunday attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his remark that minorities have been made to “live in an illusion of fear”. Owaisi said that if Modi really cares about minorities, he should stop cow vigilantes from lynching Muslims, ANI reported.

“The way the poor have been cheated, the minorities have been deceived the same way,” Modi had said on Saturday in the Central Hall of Parliament, after being appointed prime minister for a second term. “It would have been good if their education, their health had been in focus. I expect from you in 2019 that you would be able to make a hole in that deception. We have to earn their trust.” He said parties have made minorities live in fear and exploited them for vote-bank politics.

Modi’s jibe was directed at Opposition parties who allegedly use the Muslim community for vote-bank politics. However, Owaisi did not accept the prime minister’s comments. “If Muslims seriously live in fear can the prime minister tell us, out of the 300 odd MPs, how many Muslim MPs he has in own party who got elected from Lok Sabha?” the AIMIM chief asked. “This is the hypocrisy and contradiction which the prime minister and his party have been practicing for the last five years.”

Owaisi said “people who killed Akhlaq [in Dadri in 2015 for allegedly storing beef]” were sitting on the front benches during Modi’s address in Parliament. “If PM feels Muslims live in fear, will he stop gangs, who in the name of cow, are killing, beating Muslims, taking our videos and demeaning us?” he asked.

“As given in our Constitution, the Right to Life is for human beings and not animals,” Owaisi said. “I am sure that if the prime minister realises this, then the fear of minorities will go away.” The Hyderabad MP also cited an incident from last week in Seoni district in Madhya Pradesh, where three youths were thrashed, over suspicion of possessing beef.

The Bharatiya Janata Party won 303 seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, while the National Democratic Alliance it leads won 353 seats. The Congress won just 52 seats, and the United Progressive Alliance 90 seats.