India’s main opposition Congress party’s second-in-command Rahul Gandhi on Thursday slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government and ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s ideological mentor Rashtriya Swamsevak Sangh (RSS) for death of a Muslim man by cow vigilantes.
Accusing Modi of “propagating a vision where only one idea will prevail”, Gandhi said that such incidents will have “very severe consequences for the country”.
“This is a new vision for India that Narendra Modiji is propagating. It is a vision where only one idea will prevail and any other idea, anybody who does not listen to or agree with PM Modi or RSS has no place in India,” the Nehru-Gandhi scion told the media in the national capital.
Gandhi, the son of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, made the remarks even as Junior Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said in the Indian Parliament that “no such incident took place as described by opposition parties”.
The incident took place Saturday in the western state of Rajasthan where the man, along with some of his accomplices, was beaten up by a group of cow vigilantes for allegedly transporting cows from state capital Jaipur to the neighboring state of Haryana, adjoining the Indian capital.
The victim, Pehlu Khan, succumbed to his injuries at a hospital in Rajasthan’s Alwar town Tuesday while the police have registered a case of murder against the unknown cow vigilantes.
The cow is considered sacred by Hindus, and killing the animal is illegal in several states, including Rajasthan. Several Indian states have banned slaughter of cows after the BJP came to power in 2014. The western state of Gujarat last month made cow slaughter punishable with life in jail.
In addition to government bans, several vigilante groups who portray themselves as protectors of cows have also been active in several states. These so-called groups routinely check vehicles and often beat up cattle traders.
Modi had last year came down heavily on such vigilantes, saying such people made him “angry” but this has not stopped attacks against cattle traders. Enditem